Born Kurtis Walker in Harlem, New York, Kurtis Blow started off as a BBOY and then block party and club DJ, using the name “Kool DJ Kurt”.
In 1977, Kurtis start emceeing, and changed his name to Kurtis Blow, as in a “body blow”. A writer from Billboard magazine approached Kurtis about recording a record, and the two co-wrote a song called “Christmas Rappin”, and the song helped Kurtis land a record label deal in 1979.
His debut album sold 400,000 units, and his follow-up “The Breaks” went gold.
Kurtis Blow holds many “first” titles as a hip-hop artist:
- First rapper to sign to a major label
- First to have a certified gold record
- First to embark on a national and international concert tour
- First to sign an endorsement deal
Kurtis went on to release ten albums in eleven years, and kept his own promise of writing family-friendly lyrics. Today, Kurtis is a devout Christian who still represents hip-hop.
We salute and wish a happy birthday to hip-hop’s first superstar, Kurtis Blow!
Check out this gem of Kurtis Blow performing “The Breaks” live on Soul Train!