One of the pioneers of hip-hop, known as the mastermind behind the first commercially successful rap record, has died, reports Spin magazine.
Sugar Hill Records co-owner Sylvia Robinson, who earned the nickname “the mother of hip-hop,” had been in a coma before she died Thursday of congestive heart failure at the New Jersey Institute of Neuroscience. She was 75.
After a career as a singer-songwriter, Robinson turned her attention to producing and running a record company. Along with her husband, Joe Robinson, she helped put together the early rap group Sugarhill Gang — whose song “Rapper’s Delight” sold more than 8 million records.
Sylvia Robinson also signed Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and produced the group’s seminal 1982 release “The Message.”
According to the story: “Prior to her role in popularizing the nascent rap genre, Robinson had a number of hits as an R&B singer. In the 1950s, as part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia, she topped the R&B charts with 1957’s ‘Love Is Strange.’ In 1973, now solo and using the name Sylvia, she released the quiet-storm radio staple ‘Pillow Talk.’"