The 5 Most Sampled Drum Breaks in Music History

The drum break – usually a short, but very sweet, part of a song where the drummer lets loose, is one of the greatest gifts music producers could hope for. Ever since sampling became widespread, drum breaks were used extensively in producing some of the greatest hits of all time. Down below we prepared a short list of some of the most widely sampled drum breaks in history.

  1. The Winstons – Amen, Brother

Who would’ve thought, back in 1969, that a simple, 6-second long drum segment, would have so much impact on the music industry in the next 4 decades? Gregory Sylvester Coleman and The Winstons probably didn’t. But the fact remains that this short break found its way into many different genres, transformed in a variety of different ways. It is the single most sampled drum break in history, and you’ll find it everywhere, from N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton”., over Drum N’ Bass, to “D’ You Know What I Mean” by Oasis.

  1. Billy Squier – The Big Beat

Simple, yet effective – these words best describe the break in “The Big Beat”. Extremely popular with pop and rap stars, and especially in the 00s (almost 20 years, how time flies!), this beat allowed Billy Squier to forever be engraved in the history of music. Some of the most popular songs which sampled “The Big Beat” include “99 problems” by Jay Z and “Berzerk” by Eminem.

  1. The Honey Drippers – Impeach The President

The 70s were a wild time. The Watergate break-in and the ensuing scandal were forever engraved in the hearts and minds of the American people. It is, therefore, not strange that many songs were written about the scandal, but the most famous one had to have been “Impeach the President” by The Honey Drippers. The drums in “Impeach the President” formed one of the bases of rap, with many famous rappers (like 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., just to name a few), using the specific drum sample from the song for their beats.

  1. Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution

“Synthetic Substitution” is one of those songs that were breathed in new life thanks to DJs who were snooping around looking for new sounds to sample. There’s no doubting that, when you hear this break for the first time in its original form, you’ll instantly recognize it. Released all the way back in 1973 as a B-Side track, it found its way on Wu Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus” and “Clan in Da Front”, as well as many other rap tracks.

  1. James Brown – Funky Drummer

James Brown, also known as “The Grandfather of Soul”, was without a doubt, one of the greatest musicians of our time. Many of his songs and beats were sampled numerous times, but “Funky Drummer” has to have one of the most widely sampled breakbeats in history. “You don’t have to do no soloing, brother” as James would say to his drummer, instructing him how to stay on the beat, thus creating an almost perfect breakbeat, used widely by hip-hop legends such as Dr. Dre, Public Enemy and others.