Art Paper on Comparing hip-hop artist: Kurtis Brow and Drakes

Introduction

Hip hop or rap music is a type of music genre developed during the late seventies. It consists of a formalized rhythmic music that usually goes along with rapping.  Kurtis Blow was a famous artist in the eighties not only the best rapper alive, but also the first rapper to demonstrate and affirm that a career in rap was even possible. He is considered as a significant icon during the 20th century as well as the greatest entertainer during his lifetime.  His contributions to the music industry and dance alongside his publicized personal life have made him a public icon in the popular culture for more than five decades. Today, the artist that is comparable to Kurtis Blow is Drake, who represents the young generation. Drake is a Canadian rapper/singer that has almost captured the diehards of hip-hop music. His rapping style and content of music are perfect to any hip-hop artist today.  This paper will compare the hip-hop/ rap artists; Kurtis Blow and Drake regarding their popularity, music content and Awards among others.

Kurtis Blow

Kurtis Blow was born in 1959 in Harlem town, New York City. Besides being an American rapper, he is also a songwriter, film producer, a DJ, and a public speaker. He began his career as a DJ while still at his tender age.  In 1975, Huey (2014) reckons that Kurtis Blow joined Harlem High School to pursue his passion in Music an Art and later Joined New York’s City College. Kurtis was the first musician to enter into a deal with Mercury records in 1979.  In his first album titled “Christmas Rappin”, Kurtis over 400 music copies. His second album, The Breaks, went global. In eleven years, he had released more than ten albums. In 2009, Kurtis Blow became a preacher and he established the Hip Hop ministry. One of the greatest hits released in 1985 was the song “If I Ruled the World”. This was one of his songs that became a big hit on its first release. His contribution and influence on hip—hop was so tremendous that new artists and rappers associated with him to gain popularity. As a professional rapper, Ulibas (2014) alleges that Kurtis ensured that his music was wholesome.  They were songs that encompassed all the age groups, in that, families could listen as well as play for their children. The content of the music was without any profane language but emphasized on integrity.

Furthermore, his songs could also be played on religious occasions and churches. For example, “Magic Words” was one of Kurtis tracks that emphasized the significance of using the terms “please” and “thank you” especially to the children. In addition to recording music, production and hosting radio shows, Kurtis also engaged himself in other activities. For example, he strongly campaigned against racism and drug abuse. He will always be considered as the greatest influencers of rap music.

Drake

Drake is a Canadian, born in 1986.  His love for music is exceptional. Drake’s family background is an exception. His family according to the study conducted by Spanos (2017) is heterogeneous with an exceptional ethnic and religious background. His father is a Catholic with African American background, while his mother is a Canadian Jewish.  Drake considers himself as a black man because he has been immersed in the black culture for a long period.  He is the best Canadian rap star. His parents divorced when he was five years, and he grew in a Jewish neighborhood in Toronto. His mother enrolled him in a Jewish school. Although he felt isolated, Drakes reckons that such exceptionality made him strong. He first became famous in 2001, when featured in one of the TV soap programs Degrassi: The Next Generation. He played the role of Jimmy Brooks (wheelchair-bound character) for about seven years. In 2002, he earned an Award for the Young Artist 2002 as the best character, and this gave him global recognition. While still active in the TV show, Drake tried crossing over the hip hop world. His first release (Room for Improvement) was in 2006 and sold more than 6000 copies. In 2007, he released another single song unaided (Comeback Season).  This included the release of a music video, “Replacement Girl,” which was featured on popular television show 106 & Park.  In 2008, he left the show and signed a deal with the Label Young Money Entertainment.  After recording several songs with Lil Wayne, Drake released his third song “So Far Gone, in 2009. The music track featured the single “Best I Ever Had,” which was classified as number two on the best hundred hot singles. Drake has always been at the frontline of news headlines either engaging in controversial issues, such as dating prominent musicians such as Rihanna or Jennifer Lopez or fronting in nation-building activities. Jay Z named him the “Kobe Bryant of hip hop.

Some of the hit songs that have earned him a global reputation include songs such as, ‘Take Care,’ ‘One Dance’ and ‘Hotline Bling. Drake is also a hip hop artist that has earned several Grammy awards. In 2010, Drake released his first album “Thank Me Later” which became a hit on the American and Canadian music chart. His new identity as the kingpin of hip hop seemed to conflict with his middle-class Jewish childhood upbringing as well as his past career as a soap star. In 2011, Drake launched an album titled, Take Care, that included great hits, for example, “Make Me Proud” and “The Motto.” The album earned global recognition and won a Grammy Award in 2011 as the best rapper among other awards. As mentioned by Mitchell (2018) Drake clashed with several prominent musicians such as Chris Brown when they both fell in love with Rihanna. The rivalry between Chris Brown and Drake erupted in violence in a public space in 2012 and attracted a series of legal consequences. Between 2015 and mid-2016, Drake released his fourth album and it became a number hit for approximately thirteen weeks non-consecutively on the Billboard charts. One of the songs entitled “Hotline Bling,” comprised in this fourth album earned him a Grammy Award for the best rap song as well as the best rapper in early 2017. As his rap career progresses, Drake believes that his exceptional to hip-hop celebrity will be beneficial to him and not a liability. On May 2017, Drake was named the winner of the Billboard Music Awards. He earned thirteen awards including being the top rap/hip hop artist and the topmost male artist among other titles. He again released his final and fifth album on June featuring Lil Wayne.

Comparison

            The content of music in the songs and albums released by the two hip hop stars is entirely different. As mentioned earlier, Kurtis Blow music is inspirational and focuses mostly on preserving the community and family values. Kurtis songs are applicable to persons across all the demographics. Although Blow seems to have released many albums compared to Drake, the awards earned by the latter artist are innumerable. In his entire lifetime as hip hop artist, Kurtis Blow has released nearly fifteen albums, while Drake has been able to produce about five albums but with numerous awards nearly every year (Hess, 2009). This is something that actually makes him doubt the Award process used.  As an African- American artist, Drake does not expect to outshine some of his White hip hop counterparts. Moreover, the content of Drake’s music relates to his upbringing, his cultural background, his love life among other aspects. On the other hand, the songs by Kurtis Blow are universal. Nonetheless, both Kurtis Blow and Drake have been termed as kingpins of Hip-hop in their different timelines.

Conclusion

Kurtis Blow and Drake have both earned a global reputation as hip hop artists. They have greatly contributed to and influenced the development of the hip-hop industry to a great extent. However, their music content, passion and style of music differ. Kurtis approach in hip hop music is meant to teach, inspire and caution, while Drake’s songs relate to his life, struggles and challenges during his growth as well as issues affecting the society.  In terms of Awards, Drake has earned numerous awards which have earned him international recognition, which Kurtis is mostly famous for addressing issues affecting young people such as drugs and racism among others.

 

References

Hess, M (2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide. Santa Barbara (CA): ABC-CLIO. pp. 34–35. ISB

Huey, S (2014). “Kurtis Blow – Biography”. Billboard.com. Rovi. Retrieved December 17, 2014.

Mitchell, G. (2018).  “Drake Certified as RIAA’s New Top Digital Singles Artist”. Billboard. Retrieved August 1, 2018

Spanos, B. (2017). “Drake’s ‘More Life’ Playlist Is Redefining Borders of Blackness in Pop”. Retrieved October 25, 2018

Ulibas, J. (2014). “Old school hip-hop rapper Kurtis Blow is now performing to a different tune”. Retrieved April 19, 2017