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The 30 Greatest Hip Hop Drum Breaks & Samples of All Time!

February 4, 2007


I absolutely love lists. I make lists for things that I need to do when at home, on my way to work, at work, and even while I’m at the movies. There’s one list that I’ve been thinking of for the past three weeks and has caused me agony beyond reasonable comprehension… The top 10 drum breaks of all time! Can you imagine that such a thing might exist? After all we are talking about, at the most, a ten second snippet of a couple of kicks, snare, and maybe even some high hats.

This is madness, right? Well, for over a fortnight I’ve tossed, turned, gritted my teeth, and had more arguments with myself than the American Psychological Association has deemed mentally healthy, but I’ve finally finished my list. The closest I was able to get it down to was the greatest 30 breaks with only the top 3 being in any particular order. So, here it is, for your listening and debating pleasure… The Top 30 Greatest Hip-Hop Drum Breaks of All Time!!!

  1. Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Subsitution
  2. The Honeydrippers – Impeach The President
  3. Skull Snaps – It’s A New Day
  4. Little Feet - Fool Yourself
  5. Billy Squire – Big Beat
  6. Al Green – I’m Glad You’re Mine
  7. The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip
  8. Power of Zeus – Sorcerer of Isis
  9. Kool & The Gang – NT
  10. Isley Brothers – Footsteps In The Dark
  11. Q65 – Get Out My Life Woman
  12. Jeff Beck – Come Dancing
  13. Mountain – Long Red (Live)
  14. Manzel – Midnight Theme
  15. The Meters – Here Come The Metermen
  16. The Headhunters – God Made Me Funky
  17. Dexter Wansel – Theme From The Planets
  18. Young Holt Unlimited – Wah Wah Man
  19. Roy Ayers – The Boogie Back
  20. James Brown – Funky President
  21. Orange Crush – Action
  22. Joe Tex – Papa Was Too
  23. Funk Inc. – Kool Is Back
  24. Silhouettes – Fonky First
  25. Bad Bascomb – Black Grass
  26. Kool & The Gang – Jungle Jazz
  27. The Turtles – I’m Chief Kamanawanalea
  28. Donny Hathaway – Magnificent Sanctuary Band
  29. Little Richard – The Rill Thing
  30. Funkadelic – Good Old Music

Related posts:

  1. 300 Classic Hip Hop Drum Breaks, Samples, and Loops
  2. 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Samples of All Time w/ Kon & Amir
  3. Mobb Deep – The Infamous Samples & Breaks Case Study
  4. Sebastian Wellendorf – Classic Breaks & Samples

{ 12 trackbacks }

Angry Citizen
March 12, 2007 at 5:37 pm
Skull Snaps @ Knitting Factory « Headless Ponch
March 12, 2007 at 7:05 pm
Nicholas R. Frazier » Blog Archive » 30 Greatest Hip Hop Drum Breaks & Samples of All Time!
February 28, 2010 at 9:34 am
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{ 341 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad October 10, 2010 at 2:12 am

can people please read the page before posting….no more posts asking for the AMEN break or FUNKY DRUMMER…. we get it! lol


Semantik October 10, 2010 at 2:51 am

“Amen” to that!


Aldo Thee Apache October 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

Ooh glad to see Skull Snaps and Q65′s Get of My Life Woman on this list.

Speaking of the latter this guy has got 107 Get Out My Life Woman breaks!!!!


The GW DVH November 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm

If people keep asking for Amen and Funky Drummer without reading all the comments, it’s because their exclusion is absolutely inexplicable. It’s not even a matter of taste or personal preference…they are both Top-10.

Other than that headscratcher, this is a great list for those looking for a starting point to digging for drum breaks. Kudos.


BROTHER BLACK !!!! November 29, 2010 at 8:41 am



BROTHER BLACK !!!! November 29, 2010 at 8:43 am

BROTHER BLACK !!!! November 29, 2010 at 8:41 am


Chili Banks December 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Wow no Amen or Funky Drummer. Nice list though.


Gerard Gibson December 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Those are hot joints also !!!Funky Drummer is a classic


Hataide December 24, 2010 at 11:54 pm

little feat’s (fool yourself), Al Green’s Im glad your mine? Those are such weak breaks compared to an Amen Brother, September 13th, or when the levee breaks. Melvin Bliss at number one? Sad.


bklyn2cali December 25, 2010 at 12:59 am

oh man… the most notorious sample (not on the list):

Bob James’ “Take Me to The Mardis Gras”

good list… ;)


Trix January 14, 2011 at 5:30 am

Um, why are these called “hip hop” breaks? Because most of them weren’t invented by hip hop artists, even if they got used by them. “Breaks” would do just fine.

And yeah, no Amen Break is just bizarre.


Gerard Gibson December 29, 2015 at 8:58 pm

We can say what a break and whats not !!! Why we started it, and we no the sound were looking for to be considered. Breaks come from Rock, Disco, Soul, Latin, Ect, all Genre has a break or two.


ya boy February 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm

sooo.. How can I download these ?


Db2 February 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Download link would be nice..


djtopcat February 28, 2011 at 9:16 am

Lee Dorsey’s Get out of my life woman is way more popular and sampled than Q65′s version are you Dutch or something lol??
I would add
Black Sabbath-Wasp
Cerrone-Rocket in the pocket live
Graham Central Station-The Jam
Johnny Jenkins-I walk on gilded splinters
Bit-A-Sweet-If I needed someone
James Taylor’s Flying Machine-knockin’ round the zoo


djtopcat March 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Oh and don’t forget Aerosmith’s-Walk this way drums very heavily sampled.
Should be in top 10.


Dick B. March 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm

No “Do the Funky Penguin” by Rufus Thomas or “Breakthrough” by Issac Hayes?


kool c March 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

7 minutes of funk


ThatKidd04 March 19, 2011 at 5:04 am

The The Honeydrippers Impeach The President is so overrated. But top ten non the less.


dysfact May 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

hmm at first i was thinking this was your personal top 30 list. Because then a lot of this criticism would be invalid. There’s nothing wrong with drafting a list, but allow me to continue it for you…

ADC band, Long Stroke
Stanley Clarke, Slow Dance
muddy waters, i just want to make love to you
cold blood, kissing my love
les mcCann, north carolina


unclehomunculus January 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

Thanks for heads up on the Les McCann track – so great! And plus one on Cold Blood, Kissing My Love – one of my faves.


Daniel Crespo October 3, 2011 at 1:08 am

yo…..THE #1 all-time most sampled groove of all time, is the solo groove in “The Funky Drummer” by James Brown, that is the All-Time champ in sampled breaks, how could you not have that on this list???


Derrick Hayes December 14, 2011 at 2:41 am

Speaking of breaks… where the hell is “Where the levee breaks” by Led Zeppelin?


Break February 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm

yo, please pop a DL link @ comments. much luv


scott cairo February 24, 2012 at 9:29 am

This is great-Thank you. Shared with my breaks nutter friends, and Mashup groups.


James March 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for posting this, this is really interesting!


Sean March 10, 2012 at 1:46 am

I would have added Tom Sawyer, Animate, and Mystic Rhythms from Rush.


DJ A.C.C.L.A.I.M` March 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

And where’s dance to the drummer’s beat by Herman Kelley?


Dave February 15, 2013 at 6:16 am

Good to see Skull Snaps and Ashley’s Roachclip, but Take Me To The Mardi Gras is a bit of an omission, and beings will be throwing down to Apache long after the human race has gone extinct. That the Amen Break and Funky Drummer are seen as better breaks than Apache… I think that’s one of the greatest cultural injustices in human history.


Zenstep April 3, 2013 at 3:35 am

Somehow I feel there are greater injustices… lol. The amen break is pretty brilliant :P Apache break equally as good.. definitely cleaner.. but an injustice? i think not ;) I say this with the friendliest of intentions btw.. gotta love a passionate connoisseur of classic breaks. I write liquid/ambient drum&bass myself (link to a song of mine above and below if your interested)


Zenstep April 3, 2013 at 5:13 am

If you liked Zephyr then heres another! :)


-- April 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Kind of happy that I can recognize what songs these are from. :D


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nick May 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Can anyone identify this break which I’ve looped?
Thanks in advance – I really need to know the answer.

Click Here:-


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peter August 16, 2013 at 5:32 am

can tell me some one how tp download this sample ?



peter August 16, 2013 at 5:33 am

can tell me some one how to download this sample ?



alex October 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

where is the download link ?


???? October 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

SERIOUSLY! fair play for doing the list but why isnt there a DOWNLOAD LINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they are the most used samples of ALL TIME if you have took the time and effort to go through all these tunes and compile the list why not just sort people out with a DOWNLOAD LINK?????????????????


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