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CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD,
1943-2017

Drummer Clyde Stubblefield, whose 20-second solo on James Brown's 1970 single "Funky Drummer" is one of the most sampled beats in hip-hop history, died Saturday of kidney failure. He was 73.

Stubblefield, a Tennessean who first worked with guitarist Eddie Kirkland and toured with Otis Redding, joined Brown’s band in 1965, a two-drummer unit with John “Jabo” Starks. He was with the band for six years.

He settled in Madison, Wis., in 1971, often performing locally and reuniting with members of Brown’s band such as Starks and Fred Wesley. He was the drummer on the public radio show Wha’dYa Know from 1990 to 2105.

As a member of  Brown’s band, he recorded "Cold Sweat," "Ain't It Funky Now" and "I Got the Feelin'" and appeared on albums such as Cold Sweat and Sex Machine.

"Funky Drummer," though, is where he made his biggest impact. Among the more than 1,000 songs that have sampled it are Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," "Bring the Noise" and "Rebel Without a Pause," N.W.A's "Fuck tha Police," Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride," LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and Run-D.M.C.'s "Run's House."

 

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