Friday, January 21, 2011

R.I.P. Bobby Robinson

Robinson passed away late last week, aged 93. Oliver Wang at Soulsides remembers Robinson and his hiphop label Enjoy...

"I came to his hip-hop imprint, Enjoy, late in the game; in my “younger” days, I just assumed that anything released pre-Run DMC was old school schlock and then someone played me “Spoonin Rap” and my mind was blown.

Sugarhill, obviously, had the bigger rep and sales but while the Sugarhill sound in hip-hop’s formative years was loud, brash and fonky, the best singles I heard from Enjoy were the opposite: lean, sparse and funky. The secret was that Bobby had drummer Errol “Pumpkin” Bedward as his in-house producer, then still in this teens(!!!). Bedward and his band, Pumpkin and His Friends, produced the best of the early Enjoy singles including “Love Rap” b/w “New Rap Language,” one of the most potent A/B-sides I know from that era..."

Author Dan Charnas (The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop) remembers Bobby Robinson.

New York Times obituary here. Robinson was one of the first blacks to own a store on 125th Street in Harlem, a record store called Bobby's Happy House.

And here's Ego Trip's top ten Enjoy recordings, via Soulsides.

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