Did Sylvia Robinson’s Sugar Hill Records Help Or Hurt Hip-Hop?

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Sylvia Robinson photo from 1992After posting the news about Sugar Hill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson‘s death on our Facebook page, we noticed this comment, “I thought she was a crook.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the only person with unflattering memories of this hip-hop legend.

In addition to being remembered as an artist, songwriter and producer, Sylvia Vanderpool Robinson was an entrepreneur and hustler who ruffled some feathers during her career as a record label executive. Was Sylvia Robinson a crook? If you were an underpaid artist on Sugar Hill Records, you’ll probably feel she had shady business practices.

But if you looked at what she and her husband Joe did with their label from a purely business point of view, you’ll probably feel that she was making the best decisions for her business.

The legacy of Sylvia Robinson and Sugar Hill depends on your perspective, but would hip-hop be the massive global movement it is today without her? XXL Magazine Executive Editor Jayson Rodriguez may have summed up Robinson best when he tweeted, “Sylvia Robinson had a complex place in the history of hip-hop, but w/o a doubt her contributions helped kickstart this beloved culture. #RIP.”

TheUrabndaily’s Editorial Director Dan Charnas addressed the unflattering allegations against Sylvia and Joe Robinson, and the legacy of Sugar Hill Records in “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.” Get comprehensive insight into the Robinsons and their record label in this book, which is now available in paperback.

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