Classic Breaks Part 3A – Apache

Apache” or the “Apache Break” by The Incredible Bongo Band is one of the most important records in hip hop music and b-boy culture. “Apache” was one of the earliest records to be sampled even before sampling technology allowed it.

In part 3 of the classic breaks series break to the beat are going to take an in depth look at the circumstances that lead to the creation of one of the phattest floor shaking compositions ever to be created.

Apache was one of those early records that shaped the way hip hop music made the transition from a live art form to recorded pieces of music. “Apache” was one of the records that made the b-boys at the early block party’s get up and throw down their moves, it was a record that early hip hop and dance musicians would experiment with and turn in to several of what is today known as classic hip hop music. “Apache” is an essential piece of vinyl for any DJ to own and was first popularised in the 1970s by pioneering hip hop DJs Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Africa Bambaataa. For any readers that are unfamiliar with The Incredible Bongo Band’s version of “Apache” please check the below:

Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band “Apache” 1973 Pride Records

The Incredible Bongo Band was started as a project in 1972 by Michael Viner who was working as a record artist manager and executive at MGM Records. Michael Viner was asked to provide a soundtrack for a film written by Wes Bishop and directed by Lee Frost called “The thing with two heads“. The plot of the film was based around a dying Continue reading

Classic Breaks Part 3B – Apache

In part one of the article break to the beat documented the rise in popularity of The Incredible Bongo Band’s cover version of “Apache” thanks to the block party DJs from New York City. Click here to read part one: Classic Breaks Part 3A – Apache

In the second part of the article we are going to investigate the influence that “Apache” had on the rise of hip hop and dance music. Eventually The “Apache” break would even influence parts of popular music culture thanks to sampling and modern production techniques.


As previously discussed hip hop music made the transition from a live art form to recorded music in the late 1970s. The “Apache” break was at the for front of this transition and had already been incorporated in a handful of early hip hop hits.  By the mid 1980s several independent hip hop record labels had been established and hip hop music and Continue reading

Classic Breaks Part 2 – The Funky Drummer

The second article in the classic breaks series is in reference to another famous and well used break beat called “Funky drummer” by James Brown. Like the “Amen break” discussed in the previous article it’s hard to imagine what music today would sound like if it wasn’t for the “Funky drummer” track and break beat being created. The “Funky drummer” break beat has been sampled, chopped up and used as an ingredient by so many artists and producers ever since samplers gave us the power to manipulate music. From classic hip hop artists like Public Enemy, Ultamagnetic MCs, and N.W.A to pop artists like George Michael, Kylie Minogue and new comer Emili Sande. Generations of performers have been drawn to and have felt inspired by this particular composition.

In this article break to the beat explore the origins of the “Funky Drummer” break beat from its creation, to its rise in popularity in hip hop and popular music. If you are not familiar with the “funky drummer” break beat and extract can be heard in below window. The extract is taken from the “Funky drummer bonus beat reprise” on the James Brown album “In the jungle groove”.

James Brown “Funky drummer bonus beat reprise”

The song “Funky drummer” was recorded in 1969 and released in March 1970 on King Records as a double sided 7″ Single. The full length version of “Funky drummer” however was not released until 1986 on James Brown‘s “In the Jungle Groove” LP. Continue reading