Kurt Walker (born August 9th, 1959), better known by his stage name Kurtis Blow, is an American rapper and record producer. He is one of the first commercially successful rappers and the first to sign with a major record label. "The Breaks", a single from his 1980 eponymous debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song.
In 1979, aged twenty, Kurtis became the first rapper to be signed by a major label, Mercury, which released "Christmas Rappin'". It sold over 400,000 copies. Its follow-up, "The Breaks", sold over half a million copies. He released ten albums over the next eleven years. His first album was Kurtis Blow, while his second was the Top 50 pop album Deuce. Party Time featured a fusion of rap and go-go. Ego Trip included the hits: "8 Million Stories," "AJ," and "Basketball". His 1985 album, America, garnered praise for its title track's music video. From this album, the song "If I Ruled the World" became a Top 5 hit on Billboard's R&B chart. In 1996, fellow rapper Nas debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a cover version of the song.
Besides his own work, Kurtis has been responsible for hits by The Fat Boys and Run DMC. Run began his career billed as 'The Son of Kurtis Blow.' Lovebug Starski, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Full Force, Russell Simmons and Wyclef Jean all have been produced by, or have worked with, Kurtis. Former label mates René & Angela had their R&B chart topping debut "Save Your Love (For #1)" produced by Blow.
Along with Dexter Scott King, Blow coordinated "King Holiday," a song to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. The Mercury/Polygram single, co-produced by Blow, included the collaborative efforts of Whitney Houston, New Edition, Stephanie Mills, El Debarge, James "JT" Taylor, The Fat Boys and Run DMC.