Drum break: when the drummer plays the groove alone. Important for sampling.

Two people that don’t get many props for famous drum breaks: the drummer and the engineer. The two people responsible for famous drum breaks: the drummer and the engineer.

I love Crate Kings’ 300 Classic Hip Hop Drum Breaks.

As a starting point.

A good break is the marriage between funk and tones. It’s a jockey—horse relationship. I don’t know who is who.

Ed Stasium engineered this one. He was an intern at the time. “I think I did a pretty good job for not knowing shit.”1

The vicious compression is hip-hop pre-hip-hop. Listen to how the hi-hat jumps out when played alone. It’s sounds like Bragg is playing that way, but the compressor is squashing the hat down when he hits the kick or snare. Now drummers imitate that sound live.

It is mind spinning how many times this break has been sampled: WhoSampled.com/SkullSnaps.

Press “r” a few times. Maybe slow it down: all day.


  1. Skull Snaps — John Ballon ↩

George Bragg