Home Deaths 2015 Son of the late Sylvia Robinson, Sugar Hill Records’ Joey Robinson Jr....

Son of the late Sylvia Robinson, Sugar Hill Records’ Joey Robinson Jr. Dies

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 Sugar Hill records Joey Robinson son of the late Sylvia Robinson
Sugar Hill records Joey Robinson Jr. son of the late Joe Sr and industry pioneer Sylvia Robinson

While the Fox network’s Empire is a huge hit TV Show, many have compared it to Sugar Hill records. Sugar Hill records made music industry history as the first label to produce a chart-topping hip hop record in 1979.  Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang was a crossover smash immediately putting the label on the map. The label went on to make many more hits with groups like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.  Joey Robinson Jr. is said to be the one who discovered Sugar Hill Gang member Master Gee rapping in a pizza shop (other accounts state it was actually Sylvia who was in the Pizza shop that day). He told his father Joe Sr. about Master Gee and Master Gee, Wonder Mike And Big Bank Hank were signed to the label as The Sugarhill Gang releasing their first crossover smash hit and the first rap record to be on a label Rappers Delight, which sampled Chic’s previous smash hit from 1978 “Good Times.”

The three sons of the late Sylvia Robinson, the music pioneer who started Sugar Hill records in 1979, have been mired in controversy for several years before and after Sylvia’s death in 2011 concerning the label, royalties, performances and rights. Joseph, Leland and Rondo Robinson were assigned as copyright administrators for the label giving them exclusive rights including the name Sugar Hill Gang.  Joey maintained the Sugar Hill Gang’s name which prevented the original group from performing and getting credit in America. They were still able to perform in Europe as a laws were different. In addition Joey Robinson Jr. put together his own version of the Sugar Hill Gang in the states billing himself as Master Gee. This caused an even greater rift between the original group and Sugar Hill records.  The Robinson brothers were also fined and placed under house arrest for failing to file federal tax returns for several years. Royalties had not been paid in excess of 1.3 million because of the tax returns not being filed

The Sugar Hill gang

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