Sylvia Robinson, the mother of Hip-Hop, dies at the age of 75. Robinson was most notably known for her work as founder/CEO of the seminal hip hop label Sugar Hill Records. She is credited as the driving force behind two landmark singles in the genre.
The first was “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, which was debuted by a hip hop act. The second was “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Robinson was born as Sylvia Vanterpool on March 6, 1936 in New York City and a long-time resident of Englewood, New Jersey. She passed away Thursday morning at Meadowlands hospital in Secaucus from congestive heart failure.
Her first successful record was the 1957 hit, “Love Is Strange,” written by Bo Diddley, but credited to his then wife, Ethel Smith, and guitarist Jody Williams, who had developed the distinctive lead guitar riff, and released as part of the duo Mickey and Sylvia with guitar player Mickey Baker.
While continuing to work in the music industry, she married her husband, Joe in 1964. Together, in the 1970s the Robinson’s with Milton Malden founded Sugar Hill Records. The company was named after the culturally area of Harlem known as a hub for artists and performers in the early and mid 1900s.