Sylvia Robinson: Mother of Hip Hop (2015)
Sylvia Vanderpool-Robinson was a singer and record executive who revolutionized the music industry and became known as the "Mother of Hip-Hop.”
In the male-dominated music world during her four-decade career, Ms. Robinson made an indelible mark on popular culture at a defining moment in the evolution of hip-hop.
She rose from solo singer with Columbia Records in 1950 under the name “Little Sylvia” to being one of the most influential rap pioneers, a well-deserved accolade.
Early in her career, in 1954, she teamed up with guitarist Mickey Baker and the duo became known as “Mickey & Silvia.”
The duo’s most well-known hit was "Love Is Strange," which topped the R&B charts and reached number eleven on the Billboard pop charts in early 1957.
Ms. Robinson later became the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the hip hop label, Sugar Hill Records, and ultimately became the driving force behind two landmark singles in the genre.
One of those milestone singles was "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
The other ground-breaking single was "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, which brought rap into the public arena and revolutionized the music industry.
A significant accomplishment for Ms. Robinson was being awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May 1973 for a hit song that she recorded herself, "Pillow Talk", which reached number one on the R&B charts and crossed over to become number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Pillow Talk" has been called an early example of prototypical disco music and the record went on to sell two million copies.
Mrs. Robinson’s record label achieved a huge success in early 1980 when Angie Stone, known as "Angie B", the lead singer with the all-female group, The Sequence, teamed up with the rap group, "Funk U Up", and recorded a million-selling hit.