Kurtis Blow, one of the first superstars of rap, celebrates his 50th birthday today. His 1980 megahit "The Breaks" introduced to the world a new sound, which came to be called "rap." NPR's Guy Raz called him up in Burlington, Vt., where he is currently on tour, to find out what he has been doing.
Scott Gries/Getty Images
Kurtis Blow's 1980 megahit "The Breaks" introduced rap to the world.
Kurtis Blow's 1980 megahit "The Breaks" introduced rap to the world. Scott Gries/Getty Images
Blow hasn't stopped making music, but his life has taken on a new direction since "The Breaks": He is now a licensed minister.
"It was a gradual transition," he says. "The music business is really a spiritual business whether we know it or not."
While reading the Bible one day, Blow says, "I got so into it that I couldn't put it down, and I got to the last book in the Bible, Revelations, and it's sort of like a prophecy. And I said I'd better get my act together before all this stuff starts to happen."
Blow moved to New York and started his own ministry called the Hip Hop Church. Now he spends his days preaching and teaching around the country, making music with his new group, Kurtis Blow & The Trinity. They have just released their sophomore album, called Father, Son, & The Holy Ghost.