“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.