My adoration of Hip Hop, its fascinating origin story and evolution, has put a lot of names in my mind, some of which Ive yet to get around to. Hearing Kurtis Blow's break out single The Breaks recently from 1980 had me itching to check out the Rapper who's name Id heard a thousand times over. The song itself wasn't particularly defining of Kurits because its essentially a remake of Rappers Delight with an interchangeable instrumental and signature baseline aesthetic and playing. Either way I was impressed by Blow's easy going rhymes and steady old school flow and since his records are like gold dust to find, the best I could get my hands on was a best of compilation CD released six years after his run of eight back to back albums.
All these songs take place before N.W.A and Public Enemy, they are fun, care free and strangely innocent in retrospect. Kurtis picks many surface level topics, stitching light rhymes together that string references and simple expressions about basketball, America, parties and even some festive rapping. Even when Hard Times rolls around Kurtis spins a positive mentality response to struggles he barely scratches the surface of. Its all light and smiley, the rhyme schemes seeming almost comical given the feats rappers would go on to do. Its essentially the blueprint of that old school era.
The music is great, Blow's flow is powerful, pronounced and lively. The instrumentals are of their time, heavily Disco influenced, with a dash of Funk spice and a sprinkling of Synthpop production its all as crisp, punchy and pronounced as Kurtis himself. Some songs topic are a bit drab like the ultra patriotic America and obnoxious AJ Scratch with its awkward chorus singing. I made a fun discovery with If I Ruled The World, a song Nas would rebuild with its chorus and sampling from Tears For Fears on his Stillmatic album. That's one of the reasons I love exploring Hip Hop's history, there is much connectivity to learn and although this isn't something I'll listen to often, it was really great to enjoy another slice of the Hip Hop evolution.
Favorite Songs: The Breaks, Christmas Rappin