Ever since Biz Markie notorious sampling rights lawsuit over his 1991 song “All Alone,” rappers and their lawyers alike have been keeping a wary eye what records producers chop up. Now, one of Hip Hop’s most sampled sources Clyde Stubblefield is looking to gain back some of the money that he was snubbed for his widely sampled “Funky Drummer” break with a new project.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Stubblefield revealed that he has teamed up filmmakers Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod to release a special “Funky Drummer Edition” of their recent released sampling rights documentary Copywright Criminals, featuring ready-to-sample breaks from the legendary drummer. Although Stubblefield isn’t seeking royalties for samples of the 1970 recording of his break, he is offering producers the right to sample these new beats for the cost of 15% of any commercial sales.
“All my life I’ve been wondering about my money,” he said. “People use my drum patterns on a lot of these songs. They never gave me credit, never paid me. It didn’t bug me or disturb me, but I think it’s disrespectful not to pay people for what they use.”
He added, “This differs from buying a sample pack for [Apple] GarageBand, because you know that what you are listening to and what you are sampling is the genius labor of this incredible musician. It’s Clyde Stubblefield.”
The drum recordings will be available to producers in both vinyl and electronic formats. The “Funky Drummer Edition” of Copyright Criminals is currently available for purchase.
Stubblefield’s heralded break has been sampled by everyone from Public Enemy to Lupe Fiasco, and is by all accounts, the most sampled song in Hip Hop history.