Known by many as the “mother of hip-hop,” Sylvia Robinson died at 6:28 this morning from congestive heart failure in a New Jersey hospital. She was 75. The multi-talented New York City native had apparently been ill for the past five months or so, according to a statement released by a family spokesman to S2S Magazine.
The founder and CEO of Sugar Hill Records, Robinson is widely recognized as being one of the creators of hip-hop music as we know it. She played a major role in the production of both Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message.” Her use of sampling in “Rapper’s Delight” led to being named the “mother of hip-hip.”
Not only that, but Robinson had a music career of her own as Sylvia. Her biggest solo hits include “Love is Strange” and “Pillow Talk,” the latter of which topped the R&B Billboard chart for two weeks in 1973. It also received a mini-boost in recent times when it appeared on the soundtrack to 1998’s 54. Hip-hop heads will recognize another of her songs, “Sweet Stuff,” for its use in J Dilla’s “Crushin’.”
You can watch Robinson perform “Pillow Talk” on Soul Train below.