If Clyde Stubblefield was just the drummer for James Brown who worked on tracks like “I Got The Feelin'” and albums like Sex Machine, he’d already be the backbone of some of the greatest music ever recorded. But as the originator of the “Funky Drummer” breakbeat — a cornerstone of early hip-hop and perhaps the most-sampled track of all-time — Stubblefield’s impact and importance spreads even farther than the reach given to him by performing behind the Godfather of Soul. When the 73-year-old Stubblefield passed away this Saturday of kidney failure, many musicians who are indebted to his indelible drum sounds came out to pay respects.
DJ Premier — who knows a thing or two about drum sounds — posted a digital tribute to the late percussionist.
Public Enemy famously sampled Stubblefield for their breakthrough hit “Fight The Power.” The group reacted to the news of his passing by tweeting out a tribute and then re-tweeting their own fans reactions and condolences.
Anderson .Paak is best known as a rapper and singer, but you can tell he knows his way around a kit. The “Come Down” singer paid homage to Clyde on Twitter.
And Bootsy Collins wrote a space-y tribute to the late legend on his Facebook.
“We lost another Pillar Stone that held up the Foundation of Funk. Mr.Clyde Stubblefield has left our frequency. I am lost for words & Rythme right now. Dang Clyde! U taught me so much as I stood their watchin’ over u & Jabo while keepin’ one eye on the Godfather. We all loved U so much. (SENDOUT YR LOVE TO HIS FAMILY & FRIENDS)! Then share yr stories about this Fire breathin’ Drummer, (THE FUNKY DRUMMER)! R.I.P. From all yr Funkateers…”
The loss was felt well outside of hip-hop. Everyone from rock bands to funk groups and back again took the time to remember Stubblefield’s iconic playing.
A musician’s work always lives on after they are gone, but Stubblefield will continue to reach more ears than just about anyone else who has ever played.