TRIBUTE: Spared a prison sentence last summer after being convicted with his brothers of tax evasion on royalties from recordings by the Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and The Treacherous Three, the youngest son of Sugar Hill Records co-founders Sylvia and Joe Robinson has died.
Rhondo Robinson was 43 when he succumbed to “multiple organ dysfunction,” according to family spokesman Greg Walker.
A high school dropout, the self-taught “Scutchie” Robinson became co-president of Sugarhill Music Publishing, for which he handled royalties and music publishing.
Joseph Robinson Sr. died in 2000.
Sylvia Robinson, who had a hit song in 1956 with “Love is Strange” as part of the rhythm-and-blues duo Mickey and Silvia, followed years later by the solo “Pillow Talk,” died in 2011.
Englewood’s City Council was to vote tonight to name West Street between West Demarest Avenue and Tallman Place — the site of the Sugar Hill Records studio — Sylvia Robinson Place.
Joseph and Leland Robinson both pleaded guilty in 2012 to federal complaints charging them with ducking federal income taxes from 2005 through 2008. They were sentenced to 400 hours of community service and three months house arrest.
Rhondo Robinson received pretty much the same sentence after pleading guilty to avoiding federal income tax returns on more than $1 million in royalties.
His fine of $25,000 was bigger than the $8,000 and $16,000 penalties his brothers received. Robinson also had to wear a monitoring bracelet.
The Robinson trio were copyright administrators for the Englewood-based music label created by their parents in 1979. Sugar Hill rode high through 1986 with a slew of hits, from “The Message” to “White Lines (Don’t Do It).”
Yet it was the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” with its bass rip snatched from Chic’s big hit “Good Times,” that was considered the label’s biggest release ever — and the world’s first hip-hop crossover hit.
For several years, the Robinson brothers battled the Sugarhill Gang over rights to the band’s name.
A little over two years ago, a film about how Sylvia and Joe Robinson and the trio allegedly defrauded the group was released. In it, band members talk of how Joe Robinson Jr. took Master Gee’s stage name and used it in performance.
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