Music pioneer Sylvia Robinson, widely known for upstarting the record label that produced the iconic song “Rapper’s Delight”, passed away this week at the age of 76.
Details of her passing landed online Thursday (September 29).
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.
“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 careers 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)
Aside with Sugar Hill Gang, Robinson’s run in the music industry went as far back as the 1950’s.
Robinson’s roots in the record industry were deep. She was a blues singer in the 1950s, recording for Columbia and Savoy Records on songs like “Chocolate Candy Blues.” Later, she was part of the duo “Mickey & Sylvia.” But she had perhaps her biggest hit as a solo artist with “Pillow Talk,” a seductive song released in 1973. Robinson was also a producer and songwriter for others. She is survived by three sons and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (ABC News)
Check out “Rapper’s Delight” down below: