Clap your hands, everybody
If you got what it takes
‘Cause I’m Kurtis Blow and I want you to know
That these are the breaks
It’s 1980. Disco is dead. The Sugarhill Gang‘s “Rappers Delight” introduces rapping to a national audience and Hip-Hop’s first solo star is about to release a song that will change everything. In the late 70s, rapper Kurtis Blow signed to Mercury Records, becoming the first rapper to be signed by a major label. He released his first hit “Christmas Rappin” which to this day you can hear on the radio during the holiday season but his next song with go on to make history.
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At the beginning of the decade, Blow would release “The Breaks.” While the lyrics of Rapper’s Delight were fun when you read The Breaks is… kinda messed up.
If your woman steps out with another man (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And she runs off with him to Japan (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And the IRS says they wanna chat (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And you can’t explain why you claimed your cat (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And Ma Bell sends you a whoppin’ bill (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
With eighteen phone calls to Brazil (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And you borrowed money from the mob (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
And yesterday you lost your job (That’s the breaks, that’s the breaks)
Well, these are the breaks! Break it up, break it up, break it up
Those are definitely the breaks but when you overlay those lyrics to a funky groove produced by J.B. Moore and Robert Ford, you can’t help but dance. Kurtis Blow danced his way to Hip-Hop history, becoming the first rap single to be certified gold by the RIAA, selling over 500,000 copies. The success of “The Breaks” helped launch Blow’s career as one of hip-hop’s most influential pioneers.
The song has been sampled by many over time, continuing its legacy but it’s nothing like the original. Listen and either take a look back and get a history lesson with “The Breaks”
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