The Full Wiki

Kurtis Blow: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Kurtis Walker (born 9 August 1959), is better known by his stage name Kurtis Blow, is one of the first commercially successful rappers and the first to sign with a major label. "The Breaks", a single from his 1980 debut album, is an early hip hop classic.


Born in Harlemmarker, New Yorkmarker, next to a spaghetti factory, Kurtis Walker got his public start in 1976 as a breakdancer and a block party DJ known by the name of Kool DJ Kurt. That same year he enrolled at the City College of New Yorkmarker and became a program director for the college radio station. Also in 1976, he joined a group called “The Force.” Russell Simmons was a lead member of that group. The Force sponsored parties around Harlem until 1977, when Simmons moved the group to Queens, New Yorkmarker. After becoming an MC on his own, Kool DJ Kurt changed his name, with the persuasion of his manager Russell Simmons, to Kurtis Blow (as in body blow). Kurtis began trying to sell himself as “the number one rapper in Queens,” with Russell’s help. For a short time Blow’s regular DJ was Simmons’ younger brother Joseph, who at the time was known as “DJ Run, the Son of Kurtis Blow.” He later changed his name and went on to become the first third of Run-D.M.C.

In the late '70s, a Billboard reporter named Robert Ford made contact with Blow and Simmons and gave them magazine press. Russell convinced Ford that Blow was ready to hit the studio, and a music industry insider named J.B. Moore put the cash up for the recording. Blow put out his first song co-written by Ford and Moore called “Christmas Rappin” or “Rappin’ Blow.” Even though the song was a success, no major label wanted anything to do with “Christmas Rappin” because they assumed that rap was going to be a one hit wonder. Eventually an A&R (Artist and Repertoire) man from Mercury Records heard the song and signed Blow. It was the first major label hip hop release. His second single, "The Breaks," broke into the top five of Billboard's R&B chart, and soon after went gold. "The Breaks" was voted the best single of 1980 in the Village Voice's influential Pazz & Jop music critics' poll. In 1980 he opened for reggae legend Bob Marley at the Madison Square Gardenmarker where he performed for an audience of 20,000. In the early 1980s, Kurtis found it hard to follow up after his hit song even though he released an album almost every year during the decade, but his persistence paid off. As further evidence of Blow's ability to crossover to non-hip hop audiences, he opened for English punk rock band the Clash at their outdoor concerts on Pier 84 in New York City in 1982. On his 1986 Polygram album, Kingdom Blow, Bob Dylan contributed vocals to the cut "Street Rock". The Dylan-Blow collaboration was conceived by veteran songwriter/producer, Wayne K. Garfield who, with former Dylan back-up singer Debra Byrd, is credited for making arrangements for the overdub session held at Dylan's studio in Topanga Valley, California. Around this time Blow became a record producer, helping new groups such as the Fat Boys sign on for record deals. Blow released a few more songs in the mid to late 1980s and made an appearance in the hip-hop film Krush Groove, where he performed “If I Ruled the World,” which was Blow’s biggest hit since his 1980 smash "The Breaks".

“If I Ruled the World” was the last of Blow’s hit songs. His mainstream reputation decreased as newer hip hop made his rap style seem old-school and outdated. He went on to record a song with Dexter King (son of Martin Luther King Jr.) titled “King Holiday” in observance of the civil rights leader’s holiday. Blow finally gave up his fast fading recording career, but in the early '90s, he contributed rap material to the soap opera One Life to Live. He also spent several years hosting as a DJ for the Los Angeles based hip hop FM radio station, Power 106, every Sunday night on the Kurtis Blow Old School Show. Although no longer recording music, Blow starred in the 1997 rap documentary, Rhyme & Reason.

A theology major at Nyack College (Class of 2009), Blow's recent focus has been on spirituality, evidenced by Kurtis Blow Presents: Hip Hop Ministry (2007, EMI Gospel), a compilation of Christian rap. In 2004, Kurtis collaborated with Bomfunk MC's on the track "Hey Everybody" from their album Reverse Psychology.

Blow was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.

References in popular culture

The They Might Be Giants song "Where Your Eyes Don't Go" on their second album, Lincoln, features the lines "You're free to come and go / Or talk like Kurtis Blow."

The Tom Tom Club song "Genius of Love" features the lines "Steppin' to the rhythm of a Kurtis Blow/ Who needs to think when your feet just go."

Bruce Haack's 1982 single "Party Machine" prominently features the lyric, "Low low low like Kurtis Blow/ Down down down like James Brown."

"The Breaks" was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto Vice City on the Wildstyle Pirate Radio station. "The Breaks" was used in the video games True Crime: New York City and Scarface: The World Is Yours.

"The Breaks" was sampled in the song "Macarron Chacarron" which has become an internet phenomenon.

The song "Music Matters" by Faithless mentions Kurtis Blow: "From Bamma Lamma to Tamla Mo, Curtis Mayfield to Kurtis Blow".

The Jurassic 5 song "Quality Control" features the line "We can rule the world without Kurtis and still Blow".

"The Breaks" was used in the TV series Everybody Hates Chris in the episode "Everybody Hates the Class President".

The Snoop Dogg song "Ups and Downs" features the lines "But what none of them would believe though (What?)/ That I would be bigger than Kurtis Blow/ I guess he was right, these are the breaks/ Despite my mistakes and aches, I'm gettin' cake".

Blow was mentioned in the movie Notorious when The Notorious B.I.G. was a child, it states that he is a fan of Blow and appreciates his music.

Nas's popular song with Lauryn Hill If I Ruled The World was a song originally by Kurtis Blow. It was performed at the end of the film Krush Groovin.

The Timbaland song "Boardmeeting" featuring Magoo starts off with Timbaland using the first two lyrics from the song, replacing the "Kurtis Blow" with "Timbo."

The 2pac song Old School features the line "Remember poppin and lockin to Kurtis Blow, the name belts"



  • Kurtis Blow (1980, Mercury)
  • Deuce (1981, Mercury)
  • Tough (1982, Mercury)
  • The Best Rapper on the Scene (1983, Mercury)
  • Ego Trip (1984, Mercury)
  • America (1985, Mercury)
  • Kingdom Blow (1986, Mercury)
  • Back by Popular Demand (1988, Mercury)
  • Kurtis Blow Presents: Hip Hop Ministry (2007, EMI Gospel)

Singles and EPs

  • "'Christmas Rappin'" (1979, Mercury)
  • "The Breaks" (1980, Mercury)
  • Tough EP (1982, Mercury)
  • Party Time? EP (1983, Mercury)


  1. Kurtis Blow biography at
  2. OldSchoolHipHop.Com - Kurtis Blow Biography
  3. Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1980: Critics Poll
  5. PRLog
  6. Independent Music Awards - 8th Annual IMA Judges

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address