February 19, 2017
One of hip-hop’s most sampled drummers has died.
James Brown’s legendary drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, has died of kidney failure at age 73, Rolling Stone reports.
Stubblefield was the inspiration for James Brown’s ‘The Funky Drummer’, a track that has been sampled on a host of classic rap songs like Run-DMC’s ‘Run’s House’, N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’ and Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’. But the breakbeat was not only popular in hip-hop. A Guy Called Gerald sampled it for his track ‘This is the Right Time’, while Moby employed it on ‘Drug Fits the Face’.
Stubblefield was respected across the music industry. Questlove wrote on Instagram, “The spirit of the greatest grace note left hand snare drummer will live on thru all of us” upon hearing the news. Prince was also a fan. It was revealed last April, after Prince’s own passing, that he was helping Stubblefield with medical bills. Billboard reported that Prince had helped Stubblefield with $80,000 in bladder cancer-related chemotherapy expenses.
Listen to ‘The Funky Drummer’ below.