Kurtis Blow’s return for the tenth annual manufacturing of “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” isn’t just a vacation deal with; it’s a vacation miracle.
The 63-year-old hip-hop pioneer had a coronary heart transplant in 2020.
“I’m a strolling, dwelling, respiration testimony of the ability of God,” stated the rapper and producer, born Kurtis Walker. “Each morning that I get up is a blessing.”
Blow serves because the MC of “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker,” which is able to make a cease on the Palace Theatre on Dec. 4, including to a strong holiday performing arts season in Columbus.
Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, the present re-imagines Balanchine’s ballet and Tchaikovsky’s score with an onstage DJ, electrical violinist and hip-hop dancers, who Blow calls the “the b-boy and b-girl dream workforce.”
The setting takes on a twist as properly. As an alternative of happening in Nineteenth-century Germany, Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince travel around present-day New York City.
“If you see that fusion of classical music with hip-hop beats underneath it, it is unbelievable,” Blow stated. “Three and 4 generations of individuals come out, and all races and nationalities. That is the theme of hip-hop, as a result of once we first created (the artwork type), it was for everybody.”
Kurtis Blow received his huge break as first main MC
Blow being part of “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” is not a lot of a shock, on condition that the rap icon is aware of a factor or two about mixing the celebration of Christmas with the music type. In 1979, when hip-hop was nonetheless in its infancy, Blow launched his first single, “Christmas Rappin.'”
Striving for a cross between James Brown and disco group Stylish, “Christmas Rappin'” was a modest gross sales success initially, however ultimately reached gold standing for promoting greater than 500,000 copies over time. The tune has since grow to be a radio staple throughout Christmastime.
“I simply wish to say thanks to the entire radio stations across the nation that play it each vacation season,” Blow stated. “It is nonetheless going robust at present.”
When Blow partnered with Mercury Data as a 19-year-old pupil at Metropolis Faculty of New York, he turned the primary rapper signed to a serious label.
The next yr, Blow made historical past once more as the primary rapper to have a gold single with the hip-hop basic “The Breaks.”
“I do not prefer to say I am a visionary,” Blow stated, laughing. “I knew (hip-hop) was one thing particular once I was a youngster. And I banked on it.”
The success of his music led Blow to fulfill a few of his favourite artists, together with Michael Jackson and Prince. However he stated assembly Bob Marley was particularly memorable.
The late reggae singer was added to a tour cease at Madison Sq. Backyard in 1980 with Blow and The Commodores a yr earlier than he died.
“Right here comes a crowd of individuals backstage on the Backyard, they usually’re coming in direction of us,” Blow recalled.
“The gang opens up and I see this man within the middle of the group with (locs). It is Bob Marley! He walks straight as much as me and shakes my hand and says, ‘Kurtis, I like your stuff.’ And the group closes up and he goes onstage. That’s one thing I’ll always remember in my life.”
Blow is working to spotlight hip-hop’s legacy
At this time, Blow is targeted on preserving hip-hop’s historical past. The rapper is chairman and co-founder of the forthcoming Universal Hip-Hop Museum, together with Ice T, LL Cool J and different rappers and entrepreneurs.
Set to have an official opening within the Bronx in 2024, the establishment will look at the legacy of hip-hop.
“It is so very important that our youth understand how this complete factor received began, and the weather of the tradition,” Blow stated.
Music additionally performs a big half in Blow’s relationship with God. An ordained minister, he’s the co-founder of Harlem’s Hip Hop Church.
Blow stated the church is at the moment internet hosting digital providers, however plans to return in-person someday subsequent yr.
Followers can also see Blow on their screens in “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” particular streaming on Disney+.
Audiences seeing the dwell present shall be amazed, he stated.
“(They) will go away our present feeling good inside and revitalized, and sharing the vacation spirit with all of their family and friends.”
At a look
“The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” will happen at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4, on the Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. Tickets vary from $34 to $64. Name 614-469-0939 or go to cbusarts.com.