Henry Stone On Sugar Hill Records: “I Put Up The Seed Money For The Label”
I was involved with Sugar Hill Records. I put the seed money up for the record company with Joe Robinson. I was Joe Robinson’s distributor at the time, his wife Little Sylvia had a hit record called “Pillow Talk” in 1973. Anyway the record called “Rapper’s Delight” broke right here in Florida. Wide open. And I ordered 10,000 records. Or 13,000 records ( laughs), and Joe got all excited and said, “I can’t press em’, man!” ‘ So I sez, well I have a pressing plant Joe. He sez, “Will you help me out?” So I did. Course then the record started to fan out all over, a lot. But this was the first area outside of the New York area that rap broke. Florida. Through my distribution.
I put the money up and the pressing plant to press 100,000 “Rappers Delight” and some of the other things, “The Message” and some of the other things he put out.
I was involved with the company but I wasn’t too involved. Joe Robinson was one of those tough Harlem cats. Black mafia. He was married to Sylvia Robinson who had a very big record by the way too, “Pillow Talk.”
I had a very good relationship with them. I put the money up for all these rap records and got involved promoting them. And then one day I got a call from Morris Levy. He said, “Henry, I got news for you. I’m taking over the whole Joe Robinson operation. You don’t have to worry about it. Any more pressings or money is gonna go through me.” I sez ok Morris be my guest. I didn’t wanna get too involved with that at that time. Joe was a you know a good hoodlum from Harlem. Very nice guy, but yknow, I figured it was far enough. I put the money up enough initially to get the thing started and that was it. He was a tough guy. Joe was a tough guy.”
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