Rap Pioneer Sylvia Robinson Dead at 75

Singer produced key tracks 'Rapper's Delight,' 'The Message'

September 29, 2011 1:30 PM ET
sylvia robinson circa 1970
Sugar Hill Records founder, Sylvia Robinson.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Sylvia Robinson, the producer of the Sugar Hill Gang's pioneering hip-hop single "Rapper's Delight," died this morning at the age of 75 from congestive heart failure. Robinson, a singer, musician, producer and label executive at Sugar Hill Records, began her career as half of the duo Mickey and Sylvia in the late Fifties, scoring a hit on her own in 1973 with "Pillow Talk."

Photos: Random Notes
Robinson masterminded "Rapper's Delight," the first-ever commercially successful hip-hop single, in 1979. In 1982, she produced another hip-hop classic, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message." That song, widely credited with bringing social consciousness to hip-hop music, was the first rap song ever added to the National Archive.

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