Rest in Peace to Sugar Hill Records Executive & Band Member Joseph Robinson, Jr.
One of Sugar Hill Records’ executives and member of the iconic Sugar Hill Gang has passed away. Joseph Robinson, Jr. lost his battle with an undisclosed form of cancer over the weekend. He passed away at his Tenafly, New Jersey home at the age of 53.
Son of Sugar Hill Records founders Sylvia and Joseph Robinson, Sr., Joseph Robinson, Jr. (called Joey by loved ones) was an integral character in the earliest days of Hip-Hop, particularly when it came to the business of marketing and recording artists. Based in Englewood, New Jersey, Sugar Hill Records appeared on the scene in the ’70s, a decade they capped off with the release of “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang. Last November, Big Bank Hank, one of the group’s members, passed away and with the news of Robinson, Jr’s death at the age of 53 after a battle with cancer, the legacy of Sugar Hill Records has lost another momentous personality in Hip-Hop history.
Robinson, Jr. spent many years as the executive of his late parents’ estate, helping to navigate Sugar Hill Records through Hip-Hop’s infancy but also through its adulthood. According to a report on NorthJersey.com, “Robinson handled the royalties and music publishing whenever such artists as Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake sampled music from his family’s catalog,” making him an orchestrator of mainstream, crossover success of classic Hip-Hop. He was also a recording artist in his own right, appearing on West End Mob’s “I Can’t Wait” in 1984, released on Sugar Hill. This came before Robinson controversially took the place of Guy O’Brien (a/k/a Master Gee) in the Sugarhill Gang in 1985. Although not part of the band’s famed 1979 lineup, Robinson is the second member of Sugarhill Gang to pass. In late 2014, MC Big Bank Hank (a/k/a Henry Jackson) died from cancer complications.
In celebration of Robinson’s contribution to Hip-Hop musically and behind the scenes, check out this Sugar Hill Records playlist, featuring work from label talent like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Melle Mel, and more.
Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the family, friends, and band-mates of Joey Robinson, Jr.