Songs You Really Should Have Heard By Now #4

The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip (1974)

Alright, here’s some Hip-Hop 101 for all of you y’all. I suppose most of you are comfortable with terms like sampling? Drum break? Yes? Okay. Now check out the clip of ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’ by The Soul Searchers at the bottom, and pay particular attention between minutes 3:30 to 3:50. Sounds familiar? It’s alright if you had a bit of an, “Oh sheeiitt!” moment. After all it’s been plundered by everyone from hip-hop heavyweights like Eric B. & Rakim and Ice Cube to extinct pop acts like Milli Vanilli and Color Me Badd.

Funk music has churned out thousands of drum breaks and samples over the years but most remain within the exclusive domain of hip-hop. ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’ though is one of the few breaks, if not the only one, to transcend its usage in predominantly black urban music and helped define an entire decade of dance pop hits. It helps that it was a thoroughly clean break (i.e. just pure drums). But more than that, the kick, the snare, the tempo, everything was so precise and accurate that it’s almost impossible to imagine a live drummer behind the kit. It’s practically inhuman.

Unfortunately for me Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ was way before my time so I will always associate the beat with Milli Vanilli. Either that, or ‘Unbelievable’ (Vision Street Wear muthafuckas!!). I’m not afraid to admit I used to lip sync to Color Me Badd though.

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