“Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield Dead at 73


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.”