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UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: photograph of Kurtis Blow photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty photos

The best thing one deserve to do in life is to make history. That is what Kurtis punch learned in primary school school farming up. And also he ultimately made history, doing for this reason twice. In 1979 once he signed v Mercury Records, he ended up being the first rapper come ink a address a major label. The adhering to year, after the release of the song “The Breaks” indigenous his 1980 self-titled debut album, that sold half a million copies and became the first gold rap single.

Blow would certainly go on to make tremendous contributions come music, inspiring music greats choose Run MC, Nas, Jay-Z, and working through artistes choose Whitney Houston, Stephanie Mills, James “JT” Taylor of Kool & the Gang, new Edition, and also others. Here’s the story of one of hip-hop’s starting fathers.


Born cut Walker, the Harlem aboriginal started out as a break-dancer and later became a DJ in the 1970s. Once he was 13 year old, he provided his first party as a DJ in ~ a friend’s date of birth party. He to be so in love through music the even prior to he might read together a child, he would certainly visit document stores in Harlem and also the southern Bronx.


“The document stores were known for having speakers outside…and they would play constant music every day. So we would certainly go to the edge record store, and also each record store would have their own charts, like their top ten songs of the week,” he recalled in an interview v PBS in 2013. “And it to be my task to go gain that chart, and also look at those songs and also pick those songs. I actually learned how to read by choose those charts. My mother loved the Motown Sound, and of course, Jackie Wilson and also Sam Cooke. Ns remember going come the record stores and also getting those. Therefore I came to be like the family members DJ.”

As a child, his favourite artiste was James Brown. He and also many other boys in his community loved the singer’s beats and also incredible north breaks. Soon, rest dancing or B-Boying started “because everybody want to be James Brown and repeat his moves; his splits and also his fancy footwork—we tried to repeat that,” punch said.

In the mid-1970s when Blow checked out The City college of new York to study communications, he determined to focus on rap 보다 DJing. A college student he met at the college, Russell Simmons, became his manager. Blow began performing at shows in Harlem and the Bronx, making a surname for self in the hip-hop genre that was now acquiring recognition.

In 1979 once hip-hop finally came to be recognized country after the release of “Rapper’s Delight” through SugarHill Gang, a Billboard magazine writer, Robert Ford, wrote a story around hip-hop and also featured Blow. Soon, Blow’s manager Simmons and also Ford began talking about writing a song. Simmons claimed it wouldn’t be poor asking blow to carry out it. Ford and also his partner J.B. Moore eventually co-wrote the tune “Christmas Rappin”.

After record the song, Tidal reports the Ford and also Moore “shopped it approximately at different labels and also Mercury Records at some point bit, making blow the an initial rapper to it is in signed by a major label.”

When blow released “Christmas Rappin”, the was just 20. The tune was commercially successful, marketing 400,000 copies, according to Tidal. The told PBS that the song was motivated by the drum division that he and also other B-Boys danced to. He claimed he wanted to perform a song with a most breaks in it because that the B-Boys to acquire down.

“A track that we can dance to v a lot of funky breaks that we can just perform our B-Bboy moves! … So us took those great things and also bad points in one’s life together a break, a great break or bad break in one’s life. Therefore that ended up being one the the connotations of the song,” he explained.

Blow soon started earning acclaim and also began touring in the U.S. And also Europe in the early 1980s. Releasing various other hit songs such together “The Breaks” and “If ns Ruled the World”, Blow would throughout his career release 15 albums. He ended up being a producer, working through Run-DMC, Fat Boys, Lovebug Starski, and Full Force. A pioneer in the world of rapping, The rock & roll Hall of fame featured punch in a hip-hop display in 1996.

Today, that is one ordained minister and also founder of the Hip-Hop Church in Harlem, where he is not only a licensed minister however a DJ and worship leader. Artistes in ~ his church preach the word of God v rap music.

Blow in 2016 showed up in a documentary on the evolution of hip-hop, Hip-Hop Evolution. Recently, he was made chairman the the plank for the upcoming global Hip-Hop Museum i m sorry is devoted to the celebration and preservation that hip-hop music, dance, art and culture. The museum will be housed in the Bronx and also will be home to some donated relics, including Blow’s yellow plaque because that “The Breaks.” the is expected to open up in 2023, the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

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“As time winds under on a the majority of our careers, us think the it’s an essential plea the our legacies and also our histories have the right to be in one ar for the whole civilization to see,” punch told Forbes in 2019.