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Funky Drummer

Arguably the most used sampled drum loops in hip hop and drum and bass music, together with the Amen Break (which is more common to drum and bass). The original song from which the break is sampled is James Brown’s song “Funky Drummer” (recorded in November 1969). Clyde Stubblefield was Brown’s drummer at the time and is widely recognized as the “creator” of the break’s characteristic groove. However, Brown is the song’s “composer,” and he has tightly enforced his reproduction rights to receive credit and compensation for commercial use of the break.

The Funky Drummer break has been enormously popular with hip hop artists, largely due to its loping tempo (approximately 90 BPM), which requires very little time compression/expansion to fit into contemporary hip hop styles.

Artists who have employed the Funky Drummer break in their works include Run/DMC, 2 Live Crew, Ice T, LL Cool J, and Pizzicato Five. Prince notably used it on his song, “My Name Is Prince.”

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