Miller Lite

Kurtis Blow

Kurtis Blow


September 2 - 4:00 PM @ UScellular Connection Stage

Kurtis Blow

Innovator and Originator - Kurtis Blow

Kurtis Blow is one of the founders and creators of recorded rap. A timeless artist and hip hop legend, Kurtis Blow blazed the trail for early Hip-Hop artists, and he will soon carry the torch for Hip-Hop music into new arenas.

Kurtis is credited with many firsts, including: • first rapper signed to a major label • first certified gold rap record (“The Breaks) • first rapper to tour US and Europe (with The Commodores, 1980) • first rapper to record a national commercial (Sprite) • first rapper to use the drum machine, sample, and sample loop • first rap music video (Basketball) • first rapper to appear in a soap opera (“One Life to Live”) • first rap millionaire

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 followup “The Breaks” helped ignite an 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 GoGo; “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. Additionally former label mates Rene & Angela had their chart topping debut “Save Your Love for # 1” gift wrapped by Kurtis Blow.

Kurtis Blow's acting performances and music coordination in several movies including Leon Kennedy’s “Cry of the City” and the hit film “Krush Groove” has won him continual praise. The New York Daily News called his cinematic works “Noteworthy, A Dynamic Presence.” As host and coproducer for “Das Leben Amerikanischer Gangs” an international film production's focus on the West Coast gang scene, Kurtis Blow crossed international waters for inner city justice (1995). As host and associate producer for "Rhyme and Reason” a Miramax film, KB gives an informative account of the present status of HipHop (1998). "The History Of Rap" Produced and written by Kurtis, is soon coming to a theatre near you.

Kurtis Blow has become known as somehwat of an activist, speaking out against racism and drug use. His innate ability to reach people is also evident in his selection as spokesperson for The National Ad Counsel. He is an integral part of its youth campaign and can be seen and heard in print, radio and television nationwide as the first to “Say No To Drugs.” He has also been involved with Phoenix House of California, a substance abuse organization with Black community emphasis.

In 1995 Kurtis Blow started working on-air in radio. Power 106, the #1 CHR Radio station in Southern California, had Kurtis on-air Sunday nights with The Old School Show, a highly rated specialty show that features Blow spinning the hits from the past. The show was rated # 1 for 4 years. Kurtis later worked for Sirius Satellite Radio on the Classic Old School Hip Hop station Backspin 43.

In 2002 after 9/11, Kurtis went overseas to the Middle East to tour the Armed Forces Bases for 17 shows to bring a little bit of back home to the troops stationed there. The tour consisted of shows in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Krgystan, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman “It was a tour I will never forget,” Blow says, “I did the Bob Hope thing.”

Since then, Kurtis Blow has kept busy. He has completed multiple world tours since the turn of the new millennium, and continues to work on other creative endeavors in the music and film arenas.

Kurtis Blow helped legitimize Hip Hop, and now, he intends to help redeem it. Having made a deep commitment to the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ, Kurtis went back to school studying theology at NYACK College - he became an ordained minister in 2009. As Co-founder of the Hip Hop Church, Kurtis serves as rapper, DJ and worship leader . There are several Hip Hop Churches around the country and Kurtis is involved with many of them. “Don't get it twisted, God has always existed,” says Kurtis, “and in terms of these young people out here who love God but do not like to go to church, only Hip Hop can bring them back to the church.”

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