Robinson was the son of Sugar Hill Records co-founders Sylvia and Joseph Robinson Sr., and one of the heirs to his parents’ hip-hop empire.
The teenaged Robinson served as the bridge between his mother, a record label veteran who was running the R&B label All-Platinum, and his rapping peers.
Joseph Robinson Jr., 53, an executive at Sugarhill Records, died of cancer Saturday. The song from the Sugarhill Gang became hip-hop’s first hit.
As the Executor of the Sugarhill Music Publishing Estate, Joey was instrumental in keeping the legacy of his family in tact.
Sugar Hill Records went on to sign artists including Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who are often credited with coining the term hip-hop to describe the genre.
He and his two younger brothers, Rhondo and Leland, eventually took over the imprint from their parents in the 1980s.
According to Ambrosia For Heads, Robinson also performed as an artist on West End Mob’s “I Can’t Wait”, which was released back in 1984 and was released via Sugar Hill.
In 1985, Joey Robinson replaced Guy O’Brien from the Sugar Hill Gang and toured with Big Bank Hank alongside current members Warren Moore; Kent Laird a/k/a Poochie; Frank Zarate; and David Gunthorpe. Big Bank Hank, one of the group’s original members, died previous year.
In March 2012, all three Robinson brothers pleaded guilty to charges when they failed to file federal tax returns for over half a million dollars they made in income.