About 2 weeks ago, one of the most iconic, important figures in music passed away – Clyde Stubblefield. Stubblefield provided the world with the funky drummer break, a 20-second cut from James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’ which is now such a standard in sampling that it’s appeared in more than 1,600 tracks.
The funky drummer break played a vital role in the formation and development of hip-hop, from Public Enemy to N.W.A. to DJ Jazzy Jeff. It is to hip-hop what the amen break is to jungle – genesis. Stubblefield himself was never overly keen on his accidental legacy, but he kept things music after he stopped playing in James Brown’s band, hosting club nights and working on a radio show in his home state of Wisconsin.
He battled with financial and medical difficulties for much of his later life, although he revealed last year that several of his medical bills had been covered by Prince, even though the two had never actually met. So, in honour of the man who crafted one of the most important percussive clips in music history, our Playlist of the Week is a rundown of some of the best and most famous tracks to use the sample, hip-hop or otherwise. A tribute to the late, great Clyde Stubblefield.