Kurtis Walker is a hip-hop legend and humanitarian. Professionally known by his stage name “Kurtis Blow” , he is also an award winning songwriter, record/film producer, b-boy, DJ, public speaker and minister.
In 1979, at just 20 years old he became the first rapper to be signed by a major record label. That same year Mercury records released “Christmas Rappin’,” selling more than 400,000 copies, becoming an annual holiday classic. “The Breaks”, a single from his 1980 self-titled debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song for Hip Hop. Throughout his career he has released 15 albums .His full-length debut, Kurtis Blow; his second, Deuce, a Top 50 Pop album and a big hit across Europe; Party Time featuring a pioneering fusion of rap and gogo; and Ego Trip, including the hits “8 Million Stories,” “AJ” and “Basketball.” In 1985, he released America, featuring “If I Ruled the World,” a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s R&B chart; Beginning in 1996, Kurtis Blow is featured in a hip-hop display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the same year, rapper Nas debuted at #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his version of Blow’s “If I Ruled The World”. The song went on to double platinum.
He has performed as an actor and in music coordination in several feature films including Leon Kennedy’s Knights of the City and the hip hop film Krush Groove. He was host and co-producer for Das Leben Amerikanischer Gangs (1995), an international film focusing on the West Coast gang scene. As a host and associate producer for Miramax’s” Rhyme and Reason”, he gave an informative account of the status of hip hop, while he participated in the three volume record release The History Of Rap for Rhino Records in 1998. Kurtis also co-produced “Slippin, Ten Years With The Bloods” which won praises from Showtime as the most viewed documentary in 2003. Kurtis was recently a producer for the Netflix show, “The Get Down” and in 2016, appeared in the documentary,” Hip-Hop Evolution”. The series profiled the history of hip-hop music through interviews with the genre’s leading cultural figures.. It won the 2016 Peabody Award, and the 2017 International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming.
In December 2014, Kurt was the Guest MC for the world premiere of The Hip Hop Nutcracker at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, a well-received update of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. An annual national tour of the show continues to have sold out performances during the holidays.
Kurtis is the founder of The Hip Hop Church in Harlem and became an ordained minister in. 2009. He serves as the Chairman Emeritus, of The Universal Hip Hop Museum. The museum is slated to open in 2023 in the Bronx, NY and in 2017, Kurtis formed “The Bboy Committee”, a group of 1st generation Bboys/Girls, who created the style of dance called Bboying, Rocking, and Break Dancing. The committee is dedicated to the facilitation of the Bboy section of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. Kurtis received his salvation “born again” in 1994.