Kurtis Blow
**FILE** Hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow performs in "Hip Hop Nutcracker." (Courtesy photo)

Hip-hop icon Kurtis Blow underwent successful heart transplant surgery in Los Angeles on Sunday, his wife of four decades told Black Press USA.

“We give all glory to God for the perfect heart and transplant,” his wife said.

On Monday, she texted, “He is out of surgery. Keep the prayers and praises up. God does all things well.”

The rap star, whose real name is Kurtis Walker, has a history of heart ailments. After recovering in 2019 from surgery to repair an aortic artery, the music pioneer was rushed back onto the operating table for a second procedure.

Shirley Walker said she believed the surgery went well, as she remained at the hospital with her husband.

A true legend, Kurtis Blow was just 20 when he signed to Mercury in 1979, the first rapper signed by a major label. That year, he released “Christmas Rappin’,” which sold more than 400,000 copies and became an annual classic.

Its gold follow‑up “The Breaks” helped ignite a still‑spreading international “rap attack.”

He released 10 albums over 11 years, including hit songs such as “Party Time,” “8 Million Stories,” “AJ Scratch” and “Basketball.”

Blow was honored for video innovation with an MTV Monitor Award in 1985 for his hit “America,” an album that included the huge single “If I Ruled the World.”

A short time later, Blow and Dexter Scott King were selected to coordinate the 1986 song “King Holiday,” to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday for the first time that year. The all-star single co‑produced by Kurtis Blow included Whitney Houston, New Edition, Stephanie Mills, El DeBarge, James “JT” Taylor of Kool & the Gang, The Fat Boys and Run-DMC.

It also has become an annual holiday classic.

The icon was also highly influential on the careers of fellow rap stars The Fat Boys and Run-DMC, whose front man, Run, began his career as “The Son of Kurtis Blow.”  

Recently, Blow has worked to help Rocky Bucano, former Def Jam President Carmen Ashhurst, and others with work on the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which breaks ground this month in New York.

“Prayers work,” Shirley Walker said, noting that she’s optimistic for her husband.

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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