Sylvia Robinson, 'Mother of Hip Hop,' passes away at age 75

Categories: Obituary
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Sylvia Robinson, singer, producer, and founder of hip-hop label Sugar Hill Records, passed away this morning of congestive heart failure at Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey. She was 75.

In addition to her work on the label, Robinson is best known for helping form the Sugarhill Gang and producing their track "Rapper's Delight," which was the first rap single to go mainstream. The "Rapper's Delight" beat was created using the breakdown section of the disco hit "Good Times" by Chic, a practice we now know as sampling and is an essential part of the hip-hop genre. Because of this, and because she and her husband Joe Robinson funded the recording of songs like "Rapper's Delight," she is often referred to as "The Mother of Hip Hop."

Robinson also notably produced Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's "The Message" and performed as Sylvia. Her biggest hit was the 1973 R&B single "Pillow Talk." Here she is performing it on Soul Train:



And here's Sugarhill Gang performing "Rapper's Delight" to Robinson's beat:




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