1.“Amen, Brother” – The Winstons (1969)
Based on my research, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Amen, Brother” is the most sampled “break” of all time. This is a break I bought on one of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats albums; I think it had the octopus on the label. The break was played by drummer Gregory Cylvester Coleman who was in the group called “The Winstons”. It was originally released in circa 1969 as the B-side of the group’s single “Color Him Father”. This is the number one most sampled song, in my opinion, on the strength of this sample being the foundation of the whole Drum-And-Bass genre. Not only that, but the Jungle Music genre as well.It’s been sampled by 3rd-Bass, NWA and many other hip-hop artists. An interesting research project narrated by Nate Harrison called “The World’s Most Important 6 Second Drum Loop” describes the history of “Amen, Brother”.
Break at slower RPM
2.”Funky Drummer” – James Brown (1969)
The break was played by James Brown’s funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield and released as a 45 RPM record. James Brown was a master maestro who was very particular about how his band performed. Check out the directions he gives his band right before the famous drum break is played. It is thought that James Brown made up the title of the song during the recording because Clyde’s playing on that break was just so funky. Toward the end of the song JB says, “The name of this tune is the funky drummer….the funky drummer….the funky drummer”. It has been sampled by artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy and Sweet Tee
James Brown’s directions before the break
3.”Synthetic Substitution” – Melvin Bliss (1973)
When I hear this joint, the first thing that comes to mind is listening to the Ultra Magnetic MC’s at Ft. Green Park in Brooklyn with our friend, who went back to the essence, Dakim aka D-Rock (R.I.P.). Featured on the break was acclaimed drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. This is another track that has been sampled by countless artists and producers over the years. Eric Holder has directed a documentary on Melvin Bliss. Check out the trailer.
Ultramagnetic MC’s “Ego Trippin” (Mr.Magic Rap Attack 107.5 WBLS, NYC)
4.”Impeach the President” – Honey Drippers (1973)
When I hear the drums from this break the, first thing that comes to mind is:
“ladies and gentlemen, we got MC Shan and Marley Marl in the house tonight…” and as the track builds, the next thing that comes to mind is: “…The choreographer causing your funky dope maneuver…”
The first quote was from “The Bridge” by MC Shan. I can say “I miss Mr. Magic” on this one. I first heard this joint on Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack on WBLS back in the old days. The second quote is from “The James Brown” by Super Lover Cee, another Rap Attack classic.
MC Shan’s “The Bridge” (Mr.Magic Rap Attack 107.5 WBLS, NYC)
5.”Funky President” – James Brown (1974)
This was one of my favorite breaks to drop when I had MC’s rhyming on the mic. The break was just long enough to get both on them on either turntable without missing a beat.
6. “Nautilus” –Bob James (1974)
“Nautilus” has been sampled in a minimum of 32 hip-hop songs, including “Follow the Leader” by Eric B & Rakim and “Daytona 500” by Ghostface.
7.”Apache” – Incredible Bongo Band (1973)
I got this break on The Ultimate Breaks & Beats album; it had the red label with the octopus. I think I got it on Fulton Street at the downtown Brooklyn Music Factory in about 1983. I probably first heard this joint on “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” and West Street Mob’s “Break Dance.”
Original 3 MC’s (circa 1984 – D-Rock, Ron Love and MC Black)
8.”The Big Beat” – Billy Squier (1980)
I bought these breaks probably in 1984. I found them at this spot in North Miami Beach called Peaches Records on 163rd Street. Those were some expensive albums and I had to get two. I don’t remember the exact cost but they were between $13 and $19 a piece.
OFB Crew (circa 1984 in Miami – Prince A.L., Cool Abid, and MC GLC)
9.”It’s a New Day” – Skull Snaps (1973)
This break was sampled on “Problems” by Method Man and “Straight Out the Sewer” by Das EFX.
10.”Hihache” – Lafayette Afro Rock Band (1974)
The group was from Long Island, NY, but moved to Paris, France, in 1971 because the members thought the US market was saturated with funk bands.