Months after the unexpected passing of music pioneer Sylvia Robinson, Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah has reflected on her death and just how powerful of an industry figure she really was.
Having sampled Robinson’s music on his own records, Ghost said the late music mogul was an extremely intelligent businesswoman.
“I never met her but I used her song on [2004’s] The Pretty Toney Album. I think it was the ‘Pillow Talk’ song. I used that,” Ghost told music personality Nardwuar. “I used that, I was talking over the song before ‘Take Me Back’ came in. That was on The Pretty Toney Album. So when you hear that, you know, rest in peace to Sylvia. Miss Robinson — she was very intelligent and smart. She was a business lady, she just owns a lot of people’s material and everything. A lot. A lot of samples have to go through her and her family to get the samples cleared.” (“Nardwuar”)
Details of her death hit the Internet in late September.
The woman some call the mother of hip-hop has died. Sylvia Robinson, the record label owner that put out “Rapper’s Delight,” rap’s first mainstream success, died Thursday. She was 76. Publicist Greg Walker says she had congestive heart failure. Along with her late husband Joe, Robinson was the owner of Sugar Hill Records. In 1979, it released the song that would become widely known as rap’s first hit, “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugar Hill Gang. (Wall Street Journal)
Public Enemy’s Chuck D expressed his condolences over Ms. Robinson’s death following the reports.
“R.I.P. Ms Rob DOIN the Job.SylviaRobinson a black woman putting Rap records on the map now a scene where today women are voided out of it,” he tweeted September 29th. (Chuck D’s Twitter)
Robinson is largely responsible for helping launch the career of rap group Sugar Hill Gang.
Facing financial ruin, Ms. Robinson got an inspiration when she heard people rapping over the instrumental breaks in disco songs at a party in Harlem. Using her son as a talent scout, she found three young rappers from the New York City area – Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee – and persuaded them to record improvised raps as the Sugar Hill Gang over a rhythm track adapted from Chic‘s “Good Times.” The record was called “Rapper’s Delight” and reached No. 4 on the R&B charts, proving rap was a viable art form and opening the gates for other hip-hop artists. (New York Times)
Check out Ghostface Killah’s interview below: