Drum breaks are a great thing when it comes to making beats because it makes the whole process much easier. There have been many times when I just couldn’t get the right drum loop going with my own drum sounds, but then I would use a break and life was so much better.
However, there are some breaks that shouldn’t be touched ever again, and it’s simply because they’ve been sampled so many times. Let’s examine them:
James Brown “Funky Drummer”
You should know this one since it’s probably the most popular of the bunch and the most awesome. I actually just used it recently, but I still felt like I shouldn’t have. The reason is because I had the feeling that I wasn’t doing enough and that my beat just sounded kind of boring. Yes, I know it sounds crazy to hear someone say that their beat sounds boring even though they used the Funky Drummer break, but I guess it’s because it’s been used so much.
Skull Snaps “It’s A New Day”
This Skull Snaps break is another overused sample and that’s because it’s just so dope! A few years back I found a really great piano sample and I was looking for some drums to put on top. I was about to do my own drum pattern but I guess I was feeling really lazy that day, so I just grabbed this break and made it work.
Melvin Bliss “Synthetic Substitution”
Probably the best break to use if you want clean drums, this break works because it’s just so simple. You could use it as is or chop it up and layer it, whatever. No matter how you use this break, your beat will turn out awesome.
Sampling is one of those things that is hit or miss. A lot of people may think that it’s okay to use the same breaks over and over, and you can, but in order to progress in your beatmaking journey, you need to change it up – and find new samples.
When I go digging through my vinyl, sometimes I just get straight up bored. It’s not because my records are boring, it’s just that I need something new. Remember those times when you go digging and then come home and go through your newly found gems? It’s fun! It’s also what needs to be done in order to continue making great beats.
There have been countless times when I couldn’t make a beat, even though I was really excited to make one, and that’s because the samples I was using just sucked. You may not have any records and may never go digging, and that’s fine, but the same can be said for digging online, like YouTube – find something new. It may not seem like it, but there’s always something out there that you can sample, including movies (not just music).
Funky Drummer, It’s A New Day, and Synthetic Substitution are all great breaks, but they’ve been sampled so many times, so why should you continue to sample them? Some of the most used samples ever were once used for the very first time by someone, so why can’t that be you?
Instead of using the same ones all the time, find something new and flip it the right way so that everyone else will want to sample that sample, and YOU will be the trendsetter. Good luck!