Clyde Stubblefield, “Funky Drummer” For James Brown, Dead At 73
He created one of music's most sampled drum breaks.
The man known as James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” passed away over the weekend. Clyde Stubblefield, who created one of the most sampled drum breaks in music, died of kidney failure Saturday (Feb. 18), according to the Associated Press.
Stubblefield's collaborations with Brown include classics like, “Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud, “Ain’t It Funky Now,” “I Got the Feelin,’” and the Sex Machine album.
But it was “Funky Drummer” that extended his legacy into hip-hop with samples on Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” and more.
Prince also used “Funky Drummer” in 1991’s “Gangster Glam,” and secretly paid Stubblefiled’s medical bills after learning that he was suffering from cancer in 2000.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1943, Stubblefield decided that he wanted to be drummer as a child. Though he was not formally trained as a drummer, he began playing professionally as a teen, and toured with Eddie Kirkland and Otis Redding early in his career. He joined Brown's band in 1965, and stayed on board for six years.
Stubblefield lived in Madison, Wisconsin from 1971 until his death.
See Twitter dedications to the pioneering musician below.
R.I.P. to the 'funky drummer' - Clyde Stubblefield - from the entire PE family. pic.twitter.com/5eTF8DvM0v
— PUBLIC ENEMY (@PublicEnemyFTP) February 19, 2017
R.I.P. Clyde Stubblefield one of the baddest drummers in Funk,Soul, and R&B
— DJ Maseo; DE LA SOUL (@DeLaSoulsDugout) February 18, 2017
Pour one out for the Funky Drummer. Rest in peace, Clyde Stubblefield. pic.twitter.com/b7wNya246N
— Mister Schusterbauer (@sweetbabyshades) February 18, 2017
RIP the OG Funky Drummer Clyde Stubblefield. 😔
This one hurts.
— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) February 18, 2017
RIP Clyde Stubblefield, who created the hip-hop breakbeat, defined funky drumming, cold sweating, obscene soul, and everything else. pic.twitter.com/yfRr4uWUph
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) February 18, 2017