It’s time for people to start talking! In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop’s Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and acclaimed spin master DJ Thoro (Raekwon, 50 Cent, Cassidy) talk to one of the founding members of the Sugar Hill Gang, Wonder Mike and Leland Robinson, the new head honcho of Sugarhill empire. There have always been rumors around the origins of Sugarhill Records. We’ve only gotten glimpses of the truth and, even then, the water is murky. Leland reveals that there were some mob ties to the group early on. Sort of.
You have to see the clip to fully understand it, but basically Leland‘s father Joseph “Joe” Robinson Sr. who was married to Sylvia Robinson, the founding mother of Sugar Hill Records basically had ties to the Mafia. And those ties were strong and people actually respected the father for a myriad of reasons. And that love continues today. Again, you have to see it.
I don’t want to spoil it. But he does in depth with Jigsaw and Thoro. Go to the 36 minute mark for that.
So, here is more info. Sugar Hill Records was founded in 1979 by Joe and Sylvia Robinson along with with Milton Malden. According to the documents I see, they got funding from Tony Riviera and Morris Levy, the owner of Roulette Records. Not to go too deep in the woods, Levy is an interesting dude. He died of cancer, but right before his passing, he was in deep doo doo.
Levy largely dealt in Jazz Music with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Count Basie. He had investors too. His money men reportedly came from The Mafia. Dominic Ciaffone (a.k.a. “Swats” Mulligan), Tommy Eboli, and Vincent Gigante owned a lot of Levy’s recording and retail businesses. I am going to let this go. But, look up Sal Pisello. He is the person that eventually facilitated a deal with MCA Records and Sugar Hill Records. This is deep!
Here is the original “Rapper’s Delight,” the song that took Hip-Hop mainstream.