Rap Pioneer Kurtis Blow Survives Heart Attack That He Says Nearly Killed Him

Kurtis Blow is credited as the first Hip-Hop artist with a gold-certified single. The Harlem, New York native released “The Breaks” in 1980 through Mercury Records as one of the first Rap artists signed to a major label. Throughout the height of his career, Kurtis Blow toured with Bob Marley, produced for The Fat Boys and Run-D.M.C., and starred in film Krush Groove.

On October 29, Blow collapsed near the Westfield Promenade in Woodland Hills, California. According to ABC 7, Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to reports of a robbery, which was later determined to be an argument between Blow and his son. During questioning, the veteran MC collapsed. Officers tended to Kurtis, including CPR. Paramedics were called, taking Blow to a nearby hospital. “They got there so fast. If they got there any later, I would have died. I want to thank the officers from the bottom of my heart, no pun intended,” Blow said, alluding to the heart attack. “I died and those officers saved my life,” Blow would state in a press release circulated by the LAPD. According to NBC’s L.A. affiliate, the artist remained hospitalized this weekend.

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In recent years, Kurtis Blow founded the Hip-Hop Church where he serves as minister. In September of 2015, AJ Scratch, Blow’s longtime DJ and friend, died. Rev Run, of Run-D.M.C., was also one of Blow’s early mix-masters.

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Other hits by Kurtis Blow include “Christmas Rappin’,” “Basketball” (which was later modernized by Master P), and “If I Ruled The World,” a hit which Nas also reworked in 1996.