James Brown did a great deal to put drummers in the limelight when he would scream “Give The Drummer Some!” live on stage. Decades later, the likes of Biz Markie and Guru told listeners to Respect The Architect. Inspired by these mantras and by the ever-growing gratitude for pioneers and innovators, we started working on something new together with Perth-based illustrator Mladen Luketin.
Which started off as a tribute to ‘Funky Drummer’ Clyde Stubblefield after his passing last February, led to this feature consisting of four illustrations by Mladen of some of the best drummers to ever do it.
Each image is followed by Mladen’s favorite samples, breaks, what he loves about each drummer, and telling more on the concept behind each illustration.
Navigate your way to all four drummers below:
How did you strive to capture Stubblefield’s style of drumming in this illustration?
James Brown is in the spotlight and mesmerizing the crowd, but it’s Clyde Stubblefield’s drums which drive the whole groove. Snappy, innovative and a little bit loose. Back then, everyone has heard his drumming but rarely noticed the drummer. So I drew him well out of the spotlight, obscured in the shadow.
Any personal memories related to his drumming?
A few years ago I was digging through some of my old tapes I recorded when I was a teen. In between a couple of mixes was a recording of me trying—well, failing—to beatbox the famous break from “Funky Drummer”. I doubt I had any idea what the sample was from back then, but I may owe him some royalties now.
The Funky Drummer break is everywhere, so this is a tough nut: one of your all-time favorite hip hop songs which the break has been sampled in?
Too many to pick from! But I especially love “Shadrach” by Beastie Boys and “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J.