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Meaning of the song ‘The Breaks’ by ‘Kurtis Blow’

Released: 2009

“The Breaks (Re-Recorded / Remastered)” by Kurtis Blow is a groundbreaking yet lighthearted take on life’s ups and downs. The lyrics dive into the tough challenges and unexpected turns that can emerge on life’s journey, using the terminology ‘breaks’ as an overarching metaphor.

“The Breaks” rides on the wave of that universal truth – life comes with its share of challenges and unexpected turns or ‘breaks,’ as Blow prefers to call them. His lyrics cover open-ended scenarios – from relationship problems, as when ‘your woman steps out with another man,’ to financial troubles, with the ‘IRS…want[ing] to chat’ and receiving a ‘whopping bill’ from the phone company.

The repeated phrase “That’s the breaks” is a recurring reminder of life’s uncertain plot twists. The language of the song also integrates the use of ‘breaks’ in describing a car’s brakes, and as a nod to ‘break dancing,’ an elemental aspect of hip-hop culture. The breaks in a dance routine typically allow dancers to showcase their most breathtaking moves, matching the theme of life’s unpredictable moments.

Moreover, Kurtis Blow also uses the term ‘breaks’ as an indicator of rhythm. In the lines ‘Break it up, break it up, break it down,’ one can infer a dual meaning: on one hand, Blow could be asking his listeners to let loose and engage with the music, while on the other hand, he might be metaphorically encouraging resilience in light of life’s challenges.

The song doesn’t just dwell on the hard knocks either. It acknowledges the ‘breaks to make you a superstar’ or ‘breaks to win.’ It embraces the rollercoaster ride that life can often be, recognizing that every experience, good or bad, is a part of the journey. The chorus ‘Throw your hands up in the sky, And wave ’em ’round from side to side’ acts as a reminder for listeners to keep their spirits high, no matter the ‘breaks’ that come their way.

Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” is thus, an ode to the human experience. It issues a call to rise above challenges, groove with life’s unpredictable rhythm, and most importantly, to never lose the ability to dance through the ‘breaks.’

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