Once we finished Christmas Rappin’ we began shopping it around town....

Once we finished Christmas Rappin’ we began shopping it around town. There was interest, but no one was biting. The industry’s attitude was that Rapper’s Delight despite its U.S. sales and international appeal was an unrepeatable fluke. We identified Polygram which had a great roster of funk and R&B acts (Kool and the Gang, the Gap Band, Parliament) as the best place for Kurtis, so we made up a gang of test pressings and took them to clubs all over the city. Response in the street from DJs and club goers was great. So to hype up PolyGram we placed fake orders for the record into their system by telling retailers and wholesalers to order the 12 inch through PolyGram. PolyGram didn’t own it yet, but we created an appetite for Christmas Rappin that led them to buy it…So in the fall of 1979 Kurtis Blow signed with Mercury Records a division of Polygram Records, making him the first rapper on a major label…Christmas eve 1979 was the first time that I heard Christmas Rappin’ on the radio; I was upstairs at my family’s house. Frankie Crocker the biggest radio DJ in New York played it on WBLS.

– Russell Simmons


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