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The Mother of Hip Hop

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the
Black History Quiz
The Mother of Hip Hop
By Jim Stroud • Issue #71 • View online
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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And now, today’s black history quiz…
The Mother of Hip Hop
Sylvia Robinson
Sylvia Robinson
Sylvia Robinson, who died Thursday morning in a New Jersey hospital, built the very first rap label. She was 75 years old and reportedly suffered congestive heart failure.
Robinson was not a rapper herself — she was a hit singer. In 1957 she had Billboard-charting single called “Love Is Strange,” a duet with ace guitarist Mickey Baker. The song has been used in movies from Dirty Dancing to Mermaids to Casino.
But after “Love Is Strange” the Harlem-born musician moved to New Jersey with her husband to raise their children. Sylvia and Joe Robinson were ambitious. They built a nightclub favored by boxers and Motown stars, and a recording studio where Robinson began writing songs for other artists. Al Green rejected one because he found it too sexy. So Robinson sang “Pillow Talk” herself.
Love is Strange- Mickey & Sylvia - The real thing
Love is Strange- Mickey & Sylvia - The real thing
“Pillow Talk” hit Number 1 on Billboard’s black singles chart in 1973 and ushered in a wave of music by black woman about sexual self confidence. But legal and financial problems almost bankrupted the couple before Sylvia Robinson attended a birthday party at a club.
“I saw this DJ playing music and saying things to the kids,” she said in a VH1 documentary about the history of hip-hop. “They would answer him back, and I say, ‘That’s a great idea.”
At the time, the conventional music industry wisdom was that the live energy of rap was impossible to capture on vinyl. Nevertheless, one hot August night in 1979 Robinson made her son Joey drive her around Englewood, New Jersey, looking for rappers.
Sylvia Robinson
Sylvia Robinson
He told NPR in 2000 that he took his mother to a pizza place and introduced her to Henry Jackson. “He closed the pizza parlor down,” said Joey Robinson about the man who would become Big Bank Hank. “He’s got all this dough on him. He weighs about 300 to 400 pounds at the time. And he jumps in the back of my Oldsmobile and starts rapping.”
The Robinsons kept driving around, people kept hopping into the car and ________________ was born.
Q: What was the name of the world’s first commercial rap single and who sang it?
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BLACK HISTORY QUIZ ANSWER
The World’s first commercial rap single was “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. | Source: NPR
The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight (Official Video)
The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight (Official Video)
More info on Sylvia Robinson
Sylvia Robinson, Who Helped Make 'Rapper's Delight,' Has Died : The Record : NPR
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Jim Stroud

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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