Clyde Stubblefield (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer for James Brown and the musician behind one of the most sampled songs of all time, has died of kidney failure at age 73. His wife, Jody Hannon, confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Stubblefield played the drum break of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” which has been sampled in hundreds of songs: Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power,” “Bring The Noise” and “Rebel Without A Pause,” Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” N.W.A.’s “Fuck The Police,” Mos Def’s “Mathematics,” and plenty of others.
Aside from the huge sample, Stubblefield played on James Brown songs like “Cold Sweat,” “Ain’t It Funky Now,” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” and “I Got The Feelin.” He also played on Brown’s album Sex Machine.
When Stubblefield was diagnosed with cancer 16 years ago, according to Billboard, Prince discreetly donated $80,000 for his $90,000-plus in hospital bills for chemotherapy.
Questlove gave props to Stubblefield’s legendary skills in an Instagam post.
“The Funky Funkiest Drummer Of All Time,” he wrote. “Clyde Stubblefield thank you for everything you’ve taught me. The spirit of the greatest grace note left hand snare drummer will live on thru all of us.”
is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.