**THIS TEXT ORIGINALLY APPEARS IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF XXL ON NEWSSTANDS NOW**
On account of his father being the author of the 1980s hip-hop smash
“The Breaks,” Los Angeles’s Kurtis Blow Jr. was hesitant to use his birth name in the early stages of his career, for fear of being cast as another hip-hop offspring getting over. Eventually the second-generation wordsmith discovered that the appeal of his artistry was more important to fans than his birthright. “People are going to look at you just for the simple fact that you’re the offspring of a legend,” Blow Jr. says. “They’re expecting you to be wack.”
As evidenced by his debut mixtape, Californication, junior’s hard work has paid off. The lyrically potent release, which is currently picking up spins on L.A.’s Power 106 radio station, caught the ear of listeners, who quickly learned that Blow Jr. had the musical chops to follow in his old man’s footsteps. “I always really wanted to bring something great to the game,” Blow Jr. says. “If the music is good, you can’t deny it.”
In fall 2008, Terral “Hollaback” T. Slack (Drake’s former manager) discovered KBJ’s talents on MySpace and signed the rhyme slinger to a management deal that following summer.
Later that year, as a member of the Cali rap collective Boss MoveMint Boys, Blow Jr., 23, scored a local hit with “100’s in My Jeans.” The marginally successful single set the stage for KBJ to drop Californication last December. Although the project featured tracks from hitmaking producer Boi 1-Da and a cameo from Drake, Kurtis’s baby boy stood as the star.
While he is his own man, he greatly benefits from the relationship he has with his father, whose experience in the music industry has undoubtedly accelerated junior’s learning curve. “Actually, I am very supportive of my son. He consults me when necessary, and I am there for him,” Blow Sr. explains. “We have toured throughout Europe, Japan and Australia together. As a matter of fact, we have dates in Paris and Australia this month. His skills onstage and command of the audience is very impressive.”
Now that Blow Jr. has proven that he’s capable of standing on his own, he’s not letting up and is soon offering fans his sophomore mixtape, Champagne Dreams & Purple Clouds. Junior will also continue the family tradition of touring internationally with his pops. “I’m trying to keep the name alive,” Blow Jr. admits. “It’s my father’s name—but I’m a different person…trying to be one of the greatest.”
And that’s no ego trip. —Rondell Conway
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