During a recent stop in Sydney, Australia as part of Kurtis Blow’s 30th Anniversary Tour of The Breaks, the legendary New York rapper gave some insight on the past and future of hip-hop.
The Harlem, New York native reminisced about the beginnings of genre, first explaining that living conditions in 1970s New York triggered the birth of a movement. “New York was in a big time state of poverty during the early ’70s,” he said. “Hip Hop came out of those times, just the living conditions were really really bad and the creative juices start to flow whenever there is oppression or just hard times.”
Blow credited films with making the term “Hip Hop” popular at the time, though it began on a more grassroots level. “They started calling it Hip Hop after the first couple of movies were being made like Beat Street,” he explained. “The phrase was coined back then but we also have the great Lovebug Starski and Keith Cowboy – R.I.P. – who were two MCs who actually came up with the term before the records, but the name actually caught on after the movies came out.”
Listing iconic figures like James Brown and The Isley Brothers, he recounted the push to make music. “We were the first rappers, so it was basically the music during that time that inspired us and motivated us to get out and MC,” and then gave credit to contemporary rappers for their progress. In addition to respecting artists such as Jay-Z, Nas, 50 Cent and Eminem, Kurtis Blow also happens to think that “Busta Rhymes is highly underrated as a rapper.”
Watch the full interview below.