The early days of hip-hop are filled with stories about crate diggers finding great beats in obscure songs and using them as the building blocks of the genre. One such song is Impeach The President.
Released in 1973 and aimed at the Nixon Administration, Impeach The President was written and produced by soul singer Roy C. Hammond. Hammond found a group of high school kids from Queens, New York, called The Honey Drippers and had them play on the record. Their names aren’t listed on any credits for the song, and Hammond himself doesn’t remember the name of the drummer he worked with for hours to be able to play that opening beat. His label Mercury wouldn’t release the song because of its controversial theme, so he put it out on his own Alaga Records. Despite being a tasty piece of funk, Impeach The President never charted.
Years later, though, that opening beat started showing up as a sample in one song after another. Here’s just a partial list of the over 600 songs with a piece of this breakbeat:
Unsurprisingly, Hammond has had to fight for what little money he got for having his work sampled in so many hits. Impeach The President’s killer breakbeat will live on, in classic hip hop and R&B, and it’s still being used today.