Music

Sylvia Robinson, the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, was a successful artist before becoming an influential hip-hop mogul.



	
		

	
		

	
		

	
		Sylvia Robinson, the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, was a successful artist before becoming an influential hip-hop mogul.

Sylvia Robinson (1935-2011) has been called the “mother of hip-hop” for her efforts in co-founding and running Sugar Hill Records. But even such an impressive honor cannot begin to encompass a wide-ranging career that preceded the dawn of rap music and spanned a remarkable half-century in music.

Robinson had musical success as an artist before going underground. He was first part of the soul-pop duo Mickey & Sylvia, whose single “Love Is Strange” topped the R&B and Billboard charts in 1957.

She returned as a solo artist, Sylvia, on 1972’s “Pillow Talk”, a song she originally wrote for Al Green. Although unremarked, Robinson was also a guitarist, playing on songs such as Ike & Tina Turner’s Grammy-nominated “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.”

During his time in Mickey & Sylvia or as a self-titled artist and beyond, Robinson created his own record labels to maintain control, starting with Willow Records, which he co-owned with Mickey Baker, and All Platinum Records, with her. businessman, Joe Robinson, both in the 1960s, but her greatest legacy remains Sugar Hill.

Founded in 1979 with her husband, Joe, his partner Milton Malden, and with funding from the legendary and controversial Morris Levy, the label – named after the Sugar Hill area in Harlem – was created when the boroughs of New York were the early high point. hip hop.

In addition to “Rapper’s Delight,” with its sly humor, Robinson oversaw the import of “The Message” and other socially significant 12-inch singles, such as Melle Mel’s “White Lines,” which spoke of the public woes of influenced by him. for the drugs. From scraping and sampling the stories of street rappers and DJs to colorful stove dance groups, hip-hop was in its infancy, and Robinson was present at its birth.

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Dan

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