“Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield Dead at 73

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Clyde Stubblefield, the drummer known for his work with James Brown and who created one of the most sampled music pieces of all time, has died at 73. Hip-hop heads will recognize Stubblefield’s rhythm pattern from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” in the music of artists like N.W.A. (“Fuck tha Police”), LL Cool J (“Mama Said Knock You Out”), Public Enemy (“Fight the Power”), and many more. “We were sitting up in the studio, getting ready for a session, and I guess when I got set up I just started playing a pattern. Started playing something,” Stubblefield said of his famed drum break. “The bassline came in and the guitar came in and we just had a rhythm going, and if Brown liked it, I just said, ‘Well, I’ll put something with it.'” Stubblefield was featured in the PBS documentary Copyright Criminals, which addressed the challenges of music sampling. “People use my drum patterns on a lot of these songs,” he told the New York Times in 2011. “They never gave me credit, never paid me. It didn’t bug me or disturb me, but I think it’s disrespectful not to pay people for what they use.”