Friday Funk: These Are The Breaks

Words By Andy Devilbiss

Kool & The Gang- “Who's Gonna Take the Weight?”

You know it's happened to you before, funkateers. You're listening to a dope hip-hop track or a DJ during a set-break. Then a particular beat drops, and your funk receptors tingle. Your body's getting into the groove, but your brain is saying “Hey what's that from? I think I've heard this somewhere before... ” And you probably have. A good beat never goes outta style, and, friend-o, you just got hit with the beauty of an old school funk break.

From the moment Kool Herc was listening to tunes and first thought to himself, “Daaaaaamn. That right there is the raw shit! Gimme five more minutes of that,” funk and hip-hop were forever linked. Youngsters adapting the old school funk from their parents' shelves to suit their needs, using and changing recorded music itself to create new music. It's a process and concept that is more prevalent than ever in popular music today, so accepted and ingrained that those early hip-hoppers are now themselves also considered old school.

At my old school, I majored in history and minored in hedonism... er... Funkology. I wrote term papers on Dizzy Gillespie and transcribed Maceo solos in jazz theory. Yes, I'm a bit of a nerd. A nerd that quickly figured out one of the best ways to learn about both funk and hip-hop was to try and figure out the source of the samples. Thankfully, like anything else funky and especially nerdy, information on old school samples is much easier to find in these new school interwebz days.

In the words of Old School Professor Emeritus Kurtis Blow... “These are the breaks.”
The Source

Arguably the best cut off a great album from Kool & The Gang's early more instrumental/jazzier period. Slow intro. Chanky guitar. Fat horn licks. Wild solo.

Break #1

Both Kool's intro and the main guitar riff are appropriated here. The intro for a new intro featuring international playboy and gold tooth enthusiast, Flava Flav. The riff as the backdrop for the badass force known as Chuck D.

Break #2

Swedish DJ who, like many other turntable wizards, also has a hard-on for that guitar riff. Can't say I blame him.

Break #3

Another guitar riff. Produced by the great Prince Paul, who would go on to take his funky break sensibilities with him when he hooked up with some cats named De La Soul.

Break #4

Also known and said aloud as Diamond D. Still one of my favorite hip-hop albums ever. Cop it. Then recline and just hit the BOOM. Sample from the sax solo used in the chorus.

Break #5

Horn break from about 2:55 Kool Time. If this song had been released recently, would the record company suits have just abbreviated the title to “OMG?” By the way, Phife likes his beats hard like two-day-old shit. It facilitates his steady eatin' of booty MC's like cheese grits.

Great album name, too. “MusicMarauders” just kind of rolls off the tongue. Sounds like it would be a good name for a website with quality writing about good music. OMG. Someone should use that.

Hrm... Someone snatched it up already. Well then. I suppose those are the breaks.


  1. Phife likes his beats hard like two-day-old shit. - Awesome!!! I loved this one! Great idea!


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