Kurtis Blow

The Breaks

Composed by J.B. Moore / Kurtis Blow / Larry Smith / Robert Ford, Jr. / Russell Simmons

Song Review by

The first hard-times anthem in hip-hop, "The Breaks" united all the ingredients of the burgeoning party raps -- a repetitive funk riff on guitar, popping bass, party-people vocals -- with a social conscience that's half-comedic, half-cautionary. Though Kurtis Blow's rapping never wore very well, he's good for a laugh or two ("Ma Bell sends you a whopping bill/With 18 phone calls to Brazil) and a few warnings ("You borrowed money from your Mom/And yesterday you lost your job") while the impromptu backing chorus screams, "That's the breaks/That's the breaks!" One of early rap's biggest crossover stars, Blow took "The Breaks" to the R&B Top Five in 1980, and it even hit the pop charts.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1980 Mercury
No Image 1986 Unidisc 4:05
Hot Dancing 1988
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 6:10
Hip Hop Greats: Classic Raps 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 7:41
Street Jams: Hip-Hop from the Top, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Rhino 6:29
The Best of Kurtis Blow 1994 Mercury 7:49
Old School Rap, Vol. 1 [Thump] 1994
Various Artists
Thump Records 6:30
Old School Jams, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
SPG 7:42
Planet Funk, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
Priority Records
Funk Classics: The 80's 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 4:07
From Hip to Hop, Vol. 1: Funkbots 1995
Various Artists
Orchard Lane 7:48
Funk Funk: The Best of Funk Essentials, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Mercury / Island/Def Jam 7:51
Street Jams: Hip-Hop From the Top, Vol. 1-4 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
True School, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 7:41
Hip Hop Don't Stop [Solid State] 1997
Various Artists
Virgin
Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 7:49
Hip-Ol' Skool 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:07
MTV Presents: Hip-Hop Back in the Day 1998
Various Artists
Priority Records 6:30
The Source Presents: Hits from the Vault, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Polygram / Polygram 4:43
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Universal/Polygram 3:45
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 6:29
Old School Jams: The History Lesson 1999
Various Artists
SPG 7:42
Back in tha Day, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Old School Rap, Vols. 1-4 [Box Set] 2000
Various Artists
Thump Records
The Best of Breakdance & Electric Boogie, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:56
Sounds of the Decade 2001
Various Artists
H&G 2:26
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Rebound Records
Total Funk! 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Old School Rap Party, Vol. 1 2002
Various Artists
Thump Records 6:29
Rappers Delight 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 3:54
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 5: Wildstyle 2002
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 7:47
No. 1 Rap Hits 2003
Various Artists
Smart
The Best of Kurtis Blow - 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection 2003 Mercury / Island 7:44
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Rap & Hip Hop 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 4:42
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Ex Works
Old School Jams [SPG Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
SPG 7:42
The Hip Hop Box 2004
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Music 7:40
Hip Hop Don't Stop (Greatest) 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:10
No Image 2005
Various Artists
More Music
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Hip Hop 30th Anniversary 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 4:09
Hip Hop Essentials, Vol. 12 2006
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 7:57
Mastercuts Hip Hop 2006
Various Artists
Mastercuts 7:45
Hip Hop: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal / Universal Music 7:51
Hip Hop: A Tribute To Urban Culture 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 7:43
Hip Hop Essentials [Box Set] 2006
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 7:57
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal 4:06
The Best of Breakdance, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:56
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Podis
The Best in Breakdance and Electric Boogie 2008
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:56
The Masters of Hip-Hop 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 7:49
Retrodance: Greatest 90s 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 4:44
Super Hits of the '80s into the '90s 2009
Various Artists
Cleopatra 4:02
Platinum Hip-Hop Hits: Old School Classics From the '80s & '90s 2009
Various Artists
Cleopatra 4:02
The Hip Hop Anniversary Tour Live in Cologne 2008 [DVD] 2009 Vaporize Music
Hip Hop, Freestyle & R&B Platinum Classics 2011
Various Artists
Big Eye / Cleopatra / X-Ray 4:02
Skyrock Party People 2011
Various Artists
UMSM 4:00
Heart 80s Club Classics 2013
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:04
Ministry of Sound Anthems: Hip Hop, Vol. 4 2014
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:04
Pure Grooves 2014
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 3:08
12" 80s Club Classics
Various Artists
Universal 7:44
No Image
Various Artists
7:50
blue highlight denotes editor's pick