School of Music Visiting Artist
"Up in the Bronx where the people are fresh..."
Kurtis Blow has been instrumental in raising a generation of MC’s, and continues to carry the torch for hip-hop music into new arenas.
In 1979, at the age of twenty, Kurtis Blow became the first Rapper to be signed by a major label. Mercury released “Christmas Rappin,” and it sold over 400,000 copies and it became an annual classic. Its gold follow‑up “The Breaks” helped ignite a still‑spreading international “Rap Attack.” He released 10 Albums over 11 years -- The first entitled “Kurtis Blow”, his full length debut and his second, a Top 50 Pop Album “Deuce,” a big hit across Europe; “Party Time” which featured a pioneering fusion of Rap and Go‑Go; “Ego Trip,” which includes the hits “8 Million Stories”, “AJ”, and “Basketball” and in 1985, “America.” “America’s video innovation received a MTV Monitor Award. From this album, the song “If I Ruled the World” became a top 5 hit on Billboard’s R & B chart. Columbia/Sony recording artist Nas debuted at # 1 on the Billboard’s Pop Album chart with a cover of the song in 1997.
He was honored to coordinate “King Holiday”, along with Dexter Scott King, a song to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday. The Mercury/Polygram single co‑produced by Kurtis Blow includes the collaborative efforts of Whitney Houston, New Edition, Stephanie Mills, El Debarge, James “JT” Taylor of Kool & the Gang, The Fat Boys and Run DMC among others. It has become an annual Holiday Classic.
Besides his own work, Kurtis has been responsible for Rap hits by The Fat Boys and Run DMC. Run began his career billed as “The son of Kurtis Blow.” Love Bug Starski, Sweet Gee, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Full Force, Russell Simmons and Wyclef Jean all have been produced or have worked with Blow in the past.