"The Breaks" is a critically acclaimed 1980 hit single by Kurtis Blow from his self-titled debut album. It was one of the earliest hip-hop hits hitting its peak at #87 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Lyrics and structure [edit]Edit

  • "The Breaks" repeats the word "break" (or any of its homophones) eighty-four times over six and a half minutes.
  • There are six breakdowns (seven including the outro) in "The Breaks".
  • There are no fewer than three definitions for "break," "to break" or "brakes" used in "The Breaks."
  • 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). It has, in turn, been sampled by many subsequent musicians.
  • The tune was sampled in the 2005 reggaeton single, "Chacarron Macarron" by El Chombo.

Charts and Recognition [edit]Edit

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

The background beat was used in Organized Rhyme's song "Check The O.R."

In 2008, this song was ranked #10 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.

The song has been featured in a 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.

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