April 16, 1917 – January 7, 2011
Bobby Robinson was a pioneering R&B and later, hip-hop record producer, as well as a longtime record store owner. He opened Bobby’s Record Shop in 1946, making it the first Black-owned business on Harlem’s famous 125th Street. The store and cultural landmark remained open until he was forced to close in 2008 due to his landlord’s desire to raze and rebuild at that spot. As a producer, Robinson had a hand in creating a string of R&B and hip-hop hits that stretched from the early ’50s through the mid ’80s. The list of greats that he enjoyed success with includes Gladys Knight & The Pips, Lee Dorsey, The Shirelles, Elmore James, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Kool Moe Dee, and Doug E. Fresh. Bobby Robinson was 93 when he passed away on January 7, 2011.