Several years ago, when asked whether he’d like to host a new stage production mixing hip-hop with Tchaikovsky, classic rapper Kurtis Blow could only muster a “what?”
Blow was backstage after a gig in the Bronx when he was approached by a friend connected to the holiday mashup that was in the works.
“Of course I remembered the classic — the toy soldiers and the whole thing — but I didn’t put two and two together,” he says of what would become “The Hip Hop Nutcracker.”
Blow visited an early rehearsal to get a feel for the show and was sold on the idea.
“There’s this real fusion between orchestra music and hip-hop, and it’s amazing,” says Blow, whose “Christmas Rappin’” (1979) was the first rap song released by a major record label. “When you add those funky beats of hip-hop to classical sounds, it gives you a whole new perspective not only of hip-hop but of music in general.”
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber and includes dancers, a violinist and DJ. The production comes to the Fox Theatre on Tuesday. Blow opens the show and sets the tone for the story that will unfold.
“I get everyone ready, pump up the audience and take them back to the old-school and make it known it’s the holiday season, so the spirit of love is in the air,” he says.
His opening segment includes a medley of old-school rap songs, “Christmas Rappin’.” He returns at the end of the show for another of his classics, “The Breaks.”
Blow says fans of both classical and hip-hop have been embracing the show equally.
He’s working on an album called “The Christmas Rapper” that he plans to release in time for the holidays next year. It will include “Christmas Rappin.’”
What “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” • When 7:30 p.m. Tuesday • Where Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard • More info 314-534-1111; metrotix.com
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