Clyde Stubblefield, the iconic drummer for James Brown whose playing became a staple in hip-hop sampling, has died of kidney failure, Rolling Stone reports. He was 73. Stubblefield played on many of Brown’s classic songs, including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” and “Cold Sweat.” He is best known for his iconic solo in “Funky Drummer,” sampled prominently by LL Cool J (“Mama Said Knock You Out”), Public Enemy (“Bring the Noise” and “Fight the Power”), and N.W.A. (“Fuck tha Police”). Prince, the Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, George Michael, and countless others also incorporated his beat.
“There have been faster, and there have been stronger, but Clyde Stubblefield has a marksman’s left hand unlike any drummer in the 20th century,” Questlove said in a 2011 interview: “It is he who defined funk music.”