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Kurtis Blow

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Album Review

Back in hip-hop's old school era — roughly 1978-1982 — albums were the exception and not the rule. Hip-hop became a lot more album-minded with the rise of its second generation (Run-D.M.C., Whodini, the Fat Boys, among others) around 1983-1984, but in the beginning, many MCs recorded nothing but singles. Two exceptions were the Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow, whose self-titled debut album of 1980 was among hip-hop's first LPs and was the first rap album to come out on a major label. Thus, Kurtis Blow has serious historic value, although it is mildly uneven. Some of the tracks are superb, including "The Breaks" (a Top Five R&B smash in 1980) and "Rappin' Blow, Part Two," which is the second half of Blow's 1979 debut single, "Christmas Rappin'." And "Hard Times" is a forceful gem that finds Blow addressing social issues two years before Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five popularized sociopolitical rapping with 1982's sobering "The Message." Some of the other tracks, however, are decent but not remarkable. Switching from rapping to singing, Blow detours into Northern soul on the Chi-Lites-influenced ballad "All I Want in This World (Is to Find That Girl)" and arena rock on an unexpected cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business." While those selections are likable and kind of interesting — how many other old school rappers attempted to sing soul, let alone arena rock? — the fact remains that rapping, not singing, is Blow's strong point. And Mercury really screwed up by providing only the second half of "Christmas Rappin'"; that landmark single should have been heard in its entirety. But despite its flaws and shortcomings, Kurtis Blow is an important album that hip-hop historians should make a point of hearing.

Customer Reviews

The Beginning Of Rap

Kurtis Blow is one of the earliest rappers ever. We should give him a lot of credit for what hip-hop is today. These songs are so old-school my dad has them on a record.

The Breaks

Back when I was a paratrooper, I cut my break dancing teeth to this badass song. The rhyming is unsurpassed.

The Best Breaks

LOL....A blast from the past. This song is very tuney and if you dont have it you should buy it! Word out..yo.


Born: August 9, 1959 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As the first commercially successful rap artist, Kurtis Blow is a towering figure in hip-hop history. His popularity and charisma helped prove that rap music was something more than a flash-in-the-pan novelty, paving the way for the even greater advances of Grandmaster Flash and Run-D.M.C. Blow was the first rapper to sign with (and release an album for) a major label; the first to have a single certified gold (1980's landmark "The Breaks"); the first to embark on a national (and international) concert...
Full Bio