Apache Part One

Apache” or the “Apache Break” by The Incredible Bongo Band is one of the most important records in Hip Hop culture. Apache was one of the earliest records to be sampled by pioneers of Hip Hop music even before sampling technology allowed it and has been sampled frequently ever since.

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 the 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 and dance music. Apache is an essential piece of vinyl for any DJ to own and was first popularised in the 1970’s by pioneering Hip Hop DJs such as 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 clip:

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 the soundtrack for a film written by Wes Bishop and directed by Lee Frost entitled “The thing with two heads“. The plot of the film was based around a dying Continue reading

Apache Part Two

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” as a result of the pioneering block party DJs of New York City.

In the second part of the article we are going to investigate the influence that the Apache break had on the rise of Hip Hop and Dance music of the late 1980’s, 1990’s and beyond. Eventually The Apache break like several other classic break beats would become featured in parts of popular music thanks to sampling and modern production techniques.


Hip Hop music made the transition from a live art form to recorded music in the late 1970’s. The Apache break was at the for front of this transition and had already been incorporated in to a handful of early Hip Hop recordings. By the mid 1980’s several independent Hip Hop record labels had been established and Hip Hop music and culture had begun its journey from New York City to the rest of the world. Again and again Hip Hop fans from outside the block party scene could hear drum breaks, sections, and horn stabs from Apache as parts of the recording were incorporated by Hip Hop artists in to their compositions. Continue reading

The Funky Drummer

Like the Amen drum break documented in the first of the Classic Break Beats series  the “Funky drummer” by James Brown has also had a huge imprint on popular music. The drum break has been sampled, chopped up and incorporate in to musical creations across genres now for generations. From classic Hip Hop artists like Public Enemy, Ultamagnetic MCs, and N.W.A, to pop artists like George Michael, Kylie Minogue and in recent times Emili Sande, the familiar sound of the Funky drummer can be heard throughout the musical spectrum.

Below is an insert of the Funky drummer bonus beat reprise in case you are not familiar with this particular break beat:

James Brown “Funky drummer bonus beat reprise”

Now you are familiar with the Funky drummer break beat we are going to look at the influence it has had on modern music.

The song Funky drummer was recorded in 1969 and released in March 1970 on King Records as a double sided 7″ vinyl Single. The single contains two extracts entitled as parts 1 & 2 taken from a full length version of the recording that is 9 minutes 13 seconds long. Because of the length of the recording it would not have been possible to cut it to a 7” Record which can only hold about three and a half minutes of sound per side at optimum recording quality. Releasing extracts of long compositions was a popular method at the time especially with Funk music that would often be created on the fly by musicians jamming together. The Jam sessions were then edited to a suitable length within the parameters of the record (In the case of a 7″ 3.5 minutes or less) Continue reading