Sylvia Robinson, “the mother of hip hop” (1936-2011)

Singer, producer and founder of early rap label Sugarhill Records Sylvia Robinson has died aged 75.


Words by: Charlie Jones

A 60-year veteren of the music industry, Sylvia Robinson died in a New Jersey hospital last night. Though an accomplished career as a singer-songwriter in her own right (watch soul classic Pillow Talk is below), her biggest break came when she discovered guys talking about things over cut up bits of funk records, a form that became known as hip hop. So excited was she by this, that Slyiva went on to create the Sugarhill Gang using local MCs, and record Rapper’s Delight, which became the first ever recorded hip hop single. The label went on to release records by the West Street Mob, Funky Four Plus One, the Treacherous Three, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, whose White Lines Sylvia produced.

Public Enemy’s Chuck D tweeted last night:RIP Ms Rob. A black woman putting rap records on the map/now a scene where today women are voided out of it.” Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

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