Kurtis Blow: The Breaks Part 1 (1980)

 |   |  <1 min read

Kurtis Blow: The Breaks Part 1 (1980)

It seems a curious thing that in hip-hop -- which often brags about how much it respects its past -- the briefly famous Kurtis Blow should have disappeared from the landscape.

But The Breaks made Kurtis Blow -- born Kurt Walker -- one of the first rap superstars when he was the first of the genre to record for a major label (Mercury) and the 12" version of this sold a whopping half a million copies. No mean feat for a style which had yet to get traction at radio, or for the 12" format.

Okay, when listened to now it does seem locked into a more simple and innocent time (gangsta was some years off), but the breaks still sound terrific. And they are all originial, which meant Kurtis Blow wasn't just sampling but inventing.

Kurtis Blow got plenty of namechecks down the decades (Tupac to Bob Dylan were in his house) but after that generation of early fans made it to adulthood the next ones -- born into NWA, Public Enemy, Eminem and even nu-metal -- seem to have not known him. Or paid respect.

So here is the elemental Breaks to remind us where this music came from.

Sounds simple to our ears now, but back in the day . . .

A hit, actually. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Alligator Wine (1963?)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Alligator Wine (1963?)

When Oasis celebrated cigarettes and alcohol on their debut album Definitely Maybe, they were onto something. These twin poles of working people are traditionally the escape from the drudgery of... > Read more

The Archies: Sugar Sugar (1969)

The Archies: Sugar Sugar (1969)

Okay, it's irritating rot-your-teeth bubblegum . . . but wait, there is more to this than you might think -- and remember it came out in the year of Altamont, Hendrix, the Manson murders and so on.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

Some years ago I bought a 10-CD Japanese box set of the Kinks, all their albums on the Pye label. It was cheap at the time and while I didn't regret it (How could I? It included Something Else,... > Read more

HOWLING AT THE MOON by WALTER YETNIKOFF AND DAVID RITZ

HOWLING AT THE MOON by WALTER YETNIKOFF AND DAVID RITZ

Yetnikoff, former head of CBS Records who helmed the company's sale to Sony, tells a racy, drug-fuelled story of 70s and 80s excess, fame and fantasy. He opens by describing sex with Jackie... > Read more