Give The Drummer Some Love: Saluting The Late Great Funky Drummer Clyde Stubblefield by Listing Samples

Posted by Billyjam, February 21, 2017 06:01pm | Post a Comment

Over the weekend one of modern music's most unsung heroes died. The influential soul/funk percussionist Clyde Stubblefield passed on February 18th at age 73 from a kidney failure. Stubblefield's death followed a decade long illness according to his wife who confirmed the musician's passing on Saturday.  As the drummer with James Brown's ensemble during the godfather of funk's highly important decades of the sixties and seventies Stubblefield was responsible for creating and recording numerous highly recognizable funky drumming JB parts including what would become one of the most widely sampled drum breaks in hip-hop history: the short but instantly recognizable drum solo on James Brown's 1970 "Funky Drummer."  The Chattanooga, Tennessee- born percussionist was a member of Brown's band during some of the most exciting years and, as such, he was responsible for the drumming on such classics as "Cold Sweat," "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud," "There Was A Time," "I Got The Feelin'," "Mother Popcorn," and "Ain't It Funky Now." But it was Stubblefield's simple but short [only 20 seconds] funky and hypnotic drum pattern on the James Brown track "Funky Drummer" that would become the artist's grePublic Enemyatest legacy, even though he didn't initially get the full credit for it: both on paper (artist credits) or in paper (money/royalties).
Stubblefied's drumming recording of the song, which would go on to become the most sampled tracks in hip-hop music, is estimated to have been sampled approximately a thousand times!

While widely utilized by hip-hop producers, who mainly sampled the funk break in late 80's and early 90's hip-hop recordings, the drum pattern break was also sampled by artists outside of hip-hop and in the more mainstream pop areas of music by artists that included George Michael, Fine Young Cannibals, Sublime, and more recently Ed Sheeran. Hence even if the average music listener does not know Stubbledfield by name, they are familiar with his signature drumbeat: having heard it in songs by such artists Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Gang Starr, N.W.ARun-D.M.C, and Biz Markie. Generally speaking however, the majority of these sampling artists did not give proper credit to the song's creator. This subject was nicely addressed seven years ago in the PBS  documentary Copyright Criminals that tackled the topic of sampling in hip-hop and other contemporary music forms. In that wonderful 2010 documentary Stubblefield was interviewed and expressed his disappointment for rarely getting credited for his famous work. In fact typically whenever the "Funky Drummer" was credited as a sample source, it was not Stubbledfield but James Brown who was given credit. However thanks to that documentary and the many articles written, including all the recent obits on the artist, more and more people now know who the true "funky drummer" is and who deserves the real props: Clyde Stubblefield. So in honor of the man and his legacy, below is  list of some of the main songs that that sampled Stubblefields immortal drum break from "Funky Drummer."


Public Enemy
: "She Watch Channel Zero" +  "Fight the Power" + "Hazy Shade of Criminal" + "Rebel Without a Pause" + "Bring the Noise"

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: "Jazzy's Groove" + "The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff" + "Hip Hop Dancer's Theme" + "Pump Up the Bass"

LL Cool J: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" + "The Boomin System" + "Mama Said Knock You Out"

Run-D.M.C: "Run's House" + "Beats to the Rhyme"

Ultramagnetic MC's: "Moe Love on the 1 and 2"

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo: "It's a Demo"

De La Soul: "Oodles of O's" + "The Magic Number"

Eric B. & Rakim: "Lyrics of Fury" + "Relax With Pep"

Bomb the Bass: "Beat Dis (UK Extended Dis)"

Coldcut: "Say Kids What Time Is It?"

DJ Shadow: "Lesson 4"

Ice CubeZ-Trip: "Rockstar" + "Rockstar II"

Above the Law: "What Cha Can Prove" + "Untouchable"

Ice Cube: "Jackin' for Beats"

N.W.A: "Fuck tha Police" + "Live Intro (1989)"

Dr. Dre: "Let Me Ride"

The Pharcyde: "Officer"

Brand New Heavies feat. The Pharcyde:
"Soul Flower"

Geto Boys: "Mind of a Lunatic"

Mellow Man Ace: "River Cubano"

MC Lyte: "Search 4 the Lyte"

Naughty by Nature: "Hip Hop Hooray"

Jewel-T: "I Like It Loud"

Biz Markie: "Spring Again"

Common: "Blows to the Head"

Mos Def:

Nas: "Get Down"

Beastie Boys: "Shadrach"

Digable Planets
: "Where I'm From"

Cash Money & Marvelous: "Marvelous' Drawers"

Underground Posse:
"Gangsta/Hype Mix"

Sir Mix-a-Lot: "No Holds Barred"

The 45 King feat. Lakim Shabazz: "When a Wise Man Speaks"

Stetsasonic: "Sally"

The Stop the Violence Movement: "Self Destruction"

Awesome Dre and The Hardcore Committee: "Frankly Speaking"

Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud:
"I'm Back" + "Do the James"

Maestro Fresh Wes: "Let Your Backbone Slide"

Big Daddy Kane:
"Mortal Combat"

"Blasé Blasé"

Snowman: "Funk-It-Up"

Kwamé: "The Rhythm"

Kris Kross: "Jump (Super Cat Mix)"

True Mathematics: "For the Lover in You"
Gang Starr: "2 Deep"

2 Live Crew: "Coolin'"

Breeze: "Great Big Freak"

Credit to the Nation: "Call It What You Want"

Jaz feat. Jay-Z: "The Originators"

Mellow Man Ace feat. Cypress Hill: "Hypest From Cypress"

Fader Gladiator: "Battle of the Planets"

Grandmaster Flash:
"Fastest Man Alive"

Lupe Fiasco
: "The Cool"

Ludacris: "Two Miles an Hour"

Daedelus: "Lights Out"

Candy Flip:
"Strawberry Fields Forever"

Alyson Williams: "Sleep Talk"

Sinead O'Connor: "I Am Stretched on Your Grave"

Enigma: "Carly's Song"

Front Line Assembly: "The Blade"

Korn & The Dust Brothers: "Kick the P.A."

Sublime: "Scarlet Begonias"

DJ Icey: "Tricks Theme"

George Michael: "Freedom! 90" + "Waiting for That Day"

Ed Sheeran "Shirtsleeves"

Fine Young Cannibals: "I'm Not the Man I Used to Be"

Pizzicato Five: "Baby Love Child"

Baby D: "Let Me Be Your Fantasy"

James L. Venable: "Powerpuff Girls Theme"

Vanilla Ice: "Stop That Train"

Dan the Automator: "Music to Be Murdered By"

Relevant Tags

George Michael (6), Ed Sheeran (3), Public Enemy (43), Funky Drummer Samples (1), James Brown (30), Clyde Stubblefiemd (1), N.w.a (6), Biz Markie (9), Run-d.m.c. (12), Gang Starr (18)