The Breaks

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"The Breaks"
Kurtis Blow - The Breaks.jpg
12" single cover
Single by Kurtis Blow
from the album Kurtis Blow
B-side "The Breaks" (Instrumental/Do It Yourself)
Released 1980
Format 12"
Recorded 1979
Genre Old school hip hop
Length 7:43
Label Mercury
Songwriter(s) Kurtis Blow, Robert Ford Jr., James B. Moore, Russell Simmons, Larry Smith
Producer(s) J.B. Moore, Robert Ford Jr.
Kurtis Blow singles chronology
"Christmas Rappin'"
"The Breaks"
"Hard Times"
"Christmas Rappin'"
"The Breaks"
"Hard Times"

"The Breaks" is a critically acclaimed 1980 hit single by Kurtis Blow from his self-titled debut album. It peaked at #87 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] It was the first certified gold rap song for Hip Hop, and the second certified gold 12 inch single in the history of music.[2] In 2008, the song ranked #10 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. [3]

Lyrics and structure[edit]

"The Breaks" repeats the word "break" (or any of its homophones) eighty-four times over six and a half minutes. It features six breakdowns (seven including the outro) while there are three definitions for "break," "to break" or "brakes" used in the lyrics. Unlike most hip-hop songs which sample prerecorded funk, the funk beat in this song is original (contrary to some statements that believe it sampled "Long Train Runnin'" by The Doobie Brothers).


The single hit #87 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #4 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart,[4] and #9 on the U.S. Billboard dance chart.[5]


It sold over 500,000 copies, becoming only the second 12-inch single to earn a gold certification from the RIAA, following "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer.[6][7]


The song has also featured in few games: the 2002 game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the 2005 game True Crime: New York City, the 2006 game Scarface: The World Is Yours and 2011 Kinect game Dance Central 2.


It has been sampled by others, including the background beat being used in Organized Rhyme's song "Check The O.R." and the 2005 reggaeton single, "Chacarron Macarron" by El Chombo

The female rap group Nadanuf remade the song alongside Kurtis Blow on their 1997 album Worldwide.[8] Blow re-recorded the song on the album Tricka Technology by A Skillz and Krafty Kuts.


  1. ^ "Kurtis Blow - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  2. ^ "Kurtis Blow - Biography | Billboard". Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  3. ^ "VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 67. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 37. 
  6. ^ George, Nelson (1988). The Death of Rhythm & Blues. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. p. 191. ISBN 0142004081. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ Grein, Paul (August 10, 1985). "Hot Madonna: July Fills Her Coffers With RIAA Metal". Billboard. Billboard Publications, Inc. 97 (32): 1. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ " - Worldwide". Retrieved 2007-07-11.