Friday, July 6, 2012

Kurtis Blow - "The Breaks"

The Breaks - Kurtis Blow

(Debuted September 6, 1980, Peaked #87, 6 Weeks on the Chart)

In the 1990s, a singer could string together a list of bad luck and call it "Ironic." In the 1980s, hard luck was just the way it was. Hence, they were "The Breaks," a song that was humorous, but like most good humor there was a pang of truth to the lyrics. While borrowing money from the Mob is a bad idea...the lines about getting stuck with a large phone bill or dating a man that turned out to be married wasn't far-fetched.

Kurtis Blow was the first rapper signed to a major label (Mercury) after the sound exploded at the beginning of the decade. "The Breaks" was his first single and its lyrics played with several meanings of the word "break": the song's style is a direct influence on its title. There are six breakdowns (seven if you count the spoken intro). The words "the breaks" are heard no fewer than eighty-four times in the album version.

Although its groove has been lifted for a number of rap and hip-hop songs over the years, on "The Breaks" it was entirely original.

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