Joey Robinson, Jr., who co-managed Sugar Hill Records with his pioneering parents Joseph and Sylvia, passed away Saturday in Tenafly, NJ. At age 53, Joey, Jr., succumbed to an unspecified cancer.
Joey Jr. was the oldest of Joseph and Sylvia Robinson’s three sons, and he was the most active of his siblings in the operation of Sugar Hill Records, which famously released the first-ever hit rap single, The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” in September 1979. Long after the North Jersey-based label folded in 1986, Sugarhill Music Publishing and the Robinson family estate have recently suffered high-profile financial problems and litigation. Joey Jr. and his brothers Leland and Rhondo all having pled guilty to tax evasion in 2013.
Rhondo Robinson passed away in February 2014. Sugar Hill Records co-founder and hip-hop pioneer Sylvia Robinson passed away in 2011. Last year, Brooklyn-based hip-hop activist LeRoy McCarthy led a successful local petition to memorialize West Street in Englewood, NJ—the home of Sugar Hill Records—as Sylvia Robinson Place.