Mother Of Hip-Hop, Sylvia Robinson, Dies

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Sylvia Robinson, known to many as the mother of hip-hop, has died aged 76.

The former soul singer set up trail-blazing record label Sugar Hill Records in 1979 with her husband Joe.

She produced hip-hop’s first commercially successful single, Rapper’s Delight, and co-wrote Grandmaster and Melle Mel’s anti-drugs anthem White Lines (Don’t Do It).

Robinson died of congestive heart failure in New Jersey, said her publicist Greg Walker.

Early success

Born Sylvia Vanterpool in New York, she had a long career in the music industry before the arrival of rap.

She scored several novelty hits in her teens as Little Sylvia, but scored a huge hit with Love Is Strange in 1957, recorded with her guitar teacher McHouston “Mickey” Baker.

The pair’s song, with its suggestive “how do you call your loverboy” refrain, is known to millions from its use in Dirty Dancing.

It was co-written by Bo Diddley, after Robinson secured permission from the bluesman to reversion one of his stage instrumentals into a jukebox smash.

The duo had a few more modest hits before they broke up, while Robinson achieved sporadic success in the 60s as a writer and producer.

Club revelation

As a solo artist, she had a hit in 1973 with the sexually suggestive Pillow Talk, an early prototype of disco music, and a direct influence on Donna Summer’s heavy-breathing hit Love To Love You Baby.

But it was 1979 when she first experienced rap and latched on to its potential.

It was at a club called Harlem World in Manhattan, where a DJ called Lovebug Starski was talking and chanting over a mix of R&B records.

“I saw him talking to the kids and saw how they’d answer back,” she told Vanity Fair magazine in 2005.

“He would say something every now and then, like ‘Throw your hands in the air,’ and they’d do it. If he’d said, ‘Jump in the river,’ they’d have done it.

“A spirit said to me, ‘Put a concept like that on a record and it will be the biggest thing you ever had.’”

Robinson recruited three unknown MCs – Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee – and recorded Rapper’s Delight, 15 minutes long and backed by a sample from Chic’s Good Times.

A seven-minute edit was put together and the song crossed over to the mainstream, eventually charting at 36 in the Billboard Hot 100.

“When it came out, nothing was the same afterwards,” hip-hop historian Harry Allen told US radio network NPR in 2000.

“By making it palpable, it made hip-hop as a commercial medium possible.”

Although the Sugar Hill Gang never equalled the success of their debut, the label continued to score hits.

Among them were Apache, That’s The Joint and The Message – the song widely credited with bringing social consciousness to hip-hop and the first rap song ever added to the US National Archive.

Sugar Hill Records was eventually closed in 1986, and its studios in Englewood, New Jersey burned down in 2002.

Sylvia Robinson is survived by her sons Joey, Leland and Rhondo and 10 grandchildren. Mr Robinson died of cancer in 2000.

G-Dep Fails to Get Murder Charge Reduced

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After confessing to a 17-year-old murder, G. Dep has failed to get charges downgraded to manslaughter.

The former Bad Boy Records rapper, born Trevell Coleman, is now facing 15 years in prison at minimum. Last year, he walked unannounced into a Harlem police station and confessed to shooting a man during a 1993 robbery. He was arrested after investigators reopened the case, long turned cold, and found that the victim, John Henkel, had died from his wounds.

According to the New York Post, G. Dep’s attorney had lobbied prosecutors to have the murder charge reduced to manslaughter in light of Dep’s courageous confession, which he made as part of a 12-step drug rehab program. “I’m just trying to get right with God,” the rapper said at the time.

However, prosecutors refused the request on Thursday, insisting that Dep either plead guilty and face a minimum of 15 years or go to trial and potentially face an even lengthier sentence.

“His decision was made for all the right reasons,” the lawyer reportedly said of Dep’s confession. “The DA should ask themselves whether they made their decision for the right reasons.”

G. Dep has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in November if he does not accept the plea deal.

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Diddy To Host Welcome Home Brunch For T.I.

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In a move that will likely keep federal authorities off his back, T.I. is keeping things simple for his welcome home festivities. Rather than throw the usual nightclub blowout bash fit for a king, Tip is doing brunch with a few hundred or so friends.

According to TMZ, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is planning a lavish welcome home brunch for his recently-released pal. The affair will take place at a private location in Atlanta. The 150 expected guests will be treated to bottles of Ciroc, $20,000 worth of food, $8,000 worth of desserts, and custom-made clothes from Tip’s clothing line AKOO.

The extravagant brunch will go down on Sunday, October 2, two days after T.I. is set free from an Atlanta halfway house.

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Hip-Hop Talent Agent Rosemond Faces More Federal Charges

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Federal prosecutors in New York unveiled new and potentially damaging charges against hip hop talent agent James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond, indicting him for allegedly possessing a sub-machine gun and silencer.

Rosemond already faces drug trafficking charges that were announced in June, but the new allegations come in an expanded superseding indictment that includes the weapons violations.


“It adds several gun charges,” Assistant US Attorney Todd Kaminsky told a federal judge today, referring to the new indictment.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors are accusing the music impresario of illegally possessing a Mac-11 sub-machine gun and a Ruger 9mmm semi-automatic pistol.

If convicted of these new charges, it would be bad news for Rosemond – who officials say has at least one prior felony conviction.

Under federal law, possession of either a machine gun or a firearms silencer in connection with a drug crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The guns were seized by Drug Enforcement Administration agents during searches at several of Rosemond’s properties, officials said.

To help fight these new charges, Rosemond appeared today in Brooklyn federal court with some high-powered additions to his legal defense team.

The hip hop guru has hired Gerald Shargel, a prominent New York defense attorney whose past clients have included Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, as well as business and entertainment figures.

During the hearing today before Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn federal court, Rosemond pleaded not guilty to the new gun charges.

After the hearing, Shargel said he plans an aggressive trial strategy.

“I intend to represent and defend Mr. Rosemond vigorously,” Shargel said.

Rosemond is being held in a New York federal detention center, where he’s awaiting trial.

He was arrested earlier this summer and charged with using his music business as cover for his transcontinental narcotics empire.

Federal prosecutors originally indicted Rosemond on money laundering and obstruction of charges – as well as an additional charge that he ran a criminal enterprise while smuggling kilos of cocaine in music industry equipment packing cases from Los Angeles to New York.

The 46-year-old owner of Czar Entertainment, who manages singers Brandy and Akon, has pleaded not guilty to the drug trafficking allegations.

Will Diddy And Jay-Z Be First Hip-Hop Billionaires? Not So, Says Birdman

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In the high stakes battle for Hip Hop superiority, it appears that the two top money earners in the rap game – ShawnJay-ZCarter and SeanDiddyCombs respectively – are in a quiet duel to become the first billionaires by way of their shared industry.

With various streams of revenue flowing for both savvy businessmen, some unrelated to music, the potential is vast for both men according to a recent analysis from Forbes magazine. However, another Hip Hop mogul believes he and his team will eclipse Jay-Z and Diddy in the money race all in due time.

CEO of Cash Money Records BrianBirdmanWilliams threw his and protégé Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint names into the billionaire sweepstakes pot, defiantly stating that the YMCMB machine is well on its way to the top. “I think Young Money Cash Money would be the first billion-dollar brand in hip-hop,” said Birdman plainly in an email to Forbes referencing his label ventures. “We strong and growing every day as a brand and fast. Within the next few years we will be billionaires.”


“You get a

According to Forbes numbers, Diddy is at the halfway mark with an estimated net worth of $500 million, much of that tied up in Diddy’s business ventures such as his Sean John and Enyce clothing lines along with his stake in Ciroc vodka. Jay-Z is right behind his rich pal with assets that include a lucrative $10 million dollar Live Nation deal, the 40/40 club chain, cosmetic company Carol’s Daughter and his partial ownership of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets amongst other deals. Continuing the dollar tally, only Dr. Dre and 50 Cent are within range for the coveted billionaire status.

Jay-Z Protege J.Cole Preps For Music Spotlight

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J. Cole’s time on hip-hop’s sideline is almost over.

More than two years after being hand-picked by rap impresario Jay-Z as the first artist on the music mogul’s fledging Roc Nation imprint, the 26 year-old Cole hopes to repay his mentor’s faith in him when his long-awaited debut “Cole World: The Sideline Story” is released on September 27.

Thanks to the high-profile endorsement and several critically lauded free albums released online, Cole has established himself as a leading voice in a new generation of hip-hop talent that includes artists like Drake, Big Sean and Wale. The North Carolina-native told Reuters the album balances different styles and lyrical content that reflect his meticulous approach towards crafting music.

“Like some rappers have, on my debut I could have gone super commercial,” said Cole of the album, which features appearances by Drake, Missy Elliott, Trey Songz (who appears on the single “Can’t Get Enough”) and, of course, Jay-Z.

“I could have just filled the album with eight or nine potential singles and hope that some of them work. Or, I could have gone the other route and been super stubborn, using only the personal material and not even worry about selling any records. What I ended up doing was the perfect balance of both. I have a number of all of those styles; the personal, deep records that are almost tear-jerkers and the fun, carefree records and super lyrical songs.”

MENTORED BY JAY-Z

Cole began pursuing a career in hip-hop while attending college at St. John’s University in New York City. Eager to prove himself in 2007, he waited for Jay-Z outside a Manhattan studio for hours in hopes of passing a demo CD to the legendary Brooklyn emcee, who initially brushed him off.

But two years later, upon hearing the song “Lights Please” from Cole’s first mix tape “The Come Up,” Jay-Z made the young artist the centerpiece of his new Roc Nation venture, and Cole credits his boss for contributing to his growth as an artist.

“He gave me a long leash to try and figure this thing out, make mistakes along the way, do the right thing,” said Cole. “He was always there overseeing and looking over my project and giving me advice on what direction I could take.”

Cole said that for a six-month period, he would bring his mentor potential singles, play songs for him and try to prove his worth.

He said he learned not to wait before he had a full song to pitch, but to take Jay-Z ideas that could be fleshed out by working with the head man.


“You get advice just through conversation,” Cole said about their relationship. “It’s not always about music. It’s about personal stories that happened when he was coming up, like when he realized he was on another level, when his fan base changed and how he handled it.”

Jay-Z’s advice for dealing with fame should be particularly useful to Cole, who’s own celebrity status is on the rise.

Earlier this month, he had his first brush with the tabloids when rumours began to swirl that he recorded a sex tape with fellow Roc Nation artist Rihanna while serving as an opening act on the singer’s Loud tour. Cole quickly denied there was any tape.

Even with the new found attention and pressure of high expectations, Cole is confident his debut will satisfy both his fans and his critics.

“I just want to win for everybody,” he said. “I want to win for myself, I want to win for my fans, I want to win for Jay-Z and the label and my management. Even more than myself, I want everybody else — the fans and the people I’m in business with — to be rewarded. I want them to know that they were right and they were dealing with something special.”

© 2013 GUTTA WORLD MAGAZINE by GW Industries