Kurtis Blow was the first rapper signed to a major label

Kurtis Blow
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Kurtis Blow Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

During the late 70s, Kurtis Walker aka Kurtis Blow became the first rapper signed to a major label at the age of 20-years-old. A British record label, Mercury Records signed Kurtis Blow in 1979. Kurtis Blow cut a record called “Christmas Rappin’,” which producers J.B. Moore and Robert Ford unsuccessfully shopped around to 22 different labels before John Stains of Mercury Records made a deal. Mercy Records released Kurtis Blow’s album Christmas Rappin’ which sold more than 400,000 copies. Mercury Records later released “The Breaks” in 1980, which became the first hip-hop/rap single to be certified gold.

Mercury Records (1979)

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Read: Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” was the first hip-hop single to go gold