It’s only right that the birthplace of hip-hop spawned one of its most oft-sampled drum breaks. The Skull Snaps, a funk band from The Boogie Down Bronx released one song called “She’s The One” as The Diplomats (how New York is that?) before renaming themselves and recording “It’s A New Day,” one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop. The beginning drum break has been used by countless artists across several genres of music. It’s been sped-up, slowed down and left raw, but it’s an unmistakable building block of hip-hop production. It appears on their only recorded self-titled album in 1973. A few singles followed but no other albums (yet) and the Aztec music reissued the CD in 2005.
Band members include Ervan Waters, George Bragg, Samm Culley, Les Waters and Oscar Waters. Bragg, the drummer behind that classic groove, passed away on June 18, 2007.
“He had some rhythms in his heart that made other musicians look at him like, ‘Are you crazy?’ ,” Erv told Musthear.com. “We used to get a kick out of seeing all the drummers stand in front of him watchin. He’d play and sing at the same time. Man, they thought he was nuts.”
You can actually catch The Skull Snaps performing at venues around NY if you check their Myspace Page for dates. Make ’em a friend and leave em a note saying thanks!
I’ve posted a Youtube of the original being performed live and several popular songs that sampled it. It’s amazing how they all use the same foundation but wrapped it in such different stuff to make it their own. Peep how Organized Konfusion turned my man’s singing into chicken clucks in the last clip.
The Skull Snaps “It’s a New Day”
Diamond D “Sally Got A One Track Mind”
Erick Sermon “Hittin Switches”
Lords Of The Underground “Funky Child”
Camp Lo “Coolie High”
Das Efx “Mic Checka”
Organized Konfusion “Who Stole My Last Piece Of Chicken”