Sylvia Robinson, early hip-hop promoter, dies

September 29, 2011 - 2:40 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The woman some call the mother of hip-hop has died.

Sylvia Robinson, the record label owner that put out "Rapper's Delight," rap's first mainstream success, died Thursday. She was 76. Publicist Greg Walker says she had congestive heart failure.

Along with her late husband Joe, Robinson was the owner of Sugar Hill Records. In 1979, it released the song that would become widely known as rap's first hit, "Rapper's Delight," by the Sugar Hill Gang.

Robinson started off as a blues singer in the 1950s, recording for Columbia and Savoy Records on songs like "Chocolate Candy Blues." Later, she was part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia.

She had her biggest hit as a solo artist with "Pillow Talk," a seductive song released in 1973. Robinson also was a producer and songwriter for others.