James Brown's Drummer Clyde Stubblefield Dies
February 19, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield, former drummer for James Brown, passed away on Saturday at the age of 73. Stubblefield drummed on many of Brown's late '60s hits, including "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud," and acclaimed albums such as Cold Sweat and Sex Machine. However, his playing on 1970's "Funky Drummer" secured his place in history.

A 20-second drum break on the track was sampled on a number of seminal Hip-Hop tracks, including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," "F**k the Police" by N.W.A, "Mama Said Knock You Out" from LL Cool J and "Shadrach" by the Beastie Boys. It even makes an appearance on the late George Michael's "Freedom '90." According to Rolling Stone, over 1,000 songs sampled "Funky Drummer." However, since Stubblefield wasn't a songwriter on the song, he barely received royalties, especially since many of those songs were released during an era where the legalities of sampling had yet to be fully determined.

Stubblefield suffered from kidney problems later in life and last year, after Prince's passing, revealed that the music icon had secretly paid $90,000 in medical bills for him while undergoing chemotherapy.

A number of artists paid tribute to Stubblefield on social media this weekend.

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Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings

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