I’m continuing my tour through hip-hop’s most classic breakbeats with “Ashley’s Roachclip” by the Soul Searchers. The drum break at 3:36 is one of those hip-hop workhorses, like “Impeach The President” and “The Funky Drummer” and “Apache.” It seems like it’s always been there.
The Soul Searchers were led by guitarist Chuck Brown, known in Washington DC music circles as “The Godfather of Go-go.” Go-go is a regional flavor of funk using a heavy swing feel and a lot of happening syncopation in the kick drum pattern. Early in my funk connoisseurship, I would have used the go-go beat as the definition of funk. The beat in “Ashley’s Roachclip” isn’t actually very typical of go-go since it uses straight eighth notes. You can hear a more typical one on Chuck Brown’s official web site.