Acoustic drumming generally isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering modern hip-hop and R&B album production. But when we took to Facebook and Instagram to ask readers about their favorite hip-hop and R&B drumming performances, plenty of gems surfaced….
My favorite hip-hop album is Organix by the Roots. It’s a masterpiece of old-school hip-hop with jazzy vibes. Questlove made a work of art with those drum beats. The balance of sounds is also perfect. The backbeat of the snare is a blast, and the accents on the hi-hat frame the snare so well with the bumping bass drum. It just feels good to me. My favorite track from this album is “Common Dust.”
Luca Prodan Bossi
Anything from the Beastie Boys’ G-Son Studio era, but especially Check Your Head and Ill Communication. The drumming isn’t necessarily fantastic from a purely technical standpoint, but it has such a groovy, raw feel that wasn’t overproduced or pulled super tight to a grid.
Any album by the Roots from between 1996 and 2006. Do you remember the spike in piccolo snare sales during that time? Every drummer wanted that Questlove and J Dilla crack back then.
Voodoo by D’Angelo. Questlove plays such a wide variety of grooves. It’s pure ear candy the whole time. I love that record.
Live by Erykah Badu changed my life when I first heard it. Charles “Poogie” Bell plays so incredibly laid back and tasty on that recording.
My favorite hip-hop drumming album is Do You Want More?!!!??! by the Roots. Questlove’s timekeeping and incredible snare sound really changed the way that I use my instrument in a musical context. Overall, this album sums up the Roots’ recognizable, classic sound and street attitude perfectly. It’s a must-have for every groove drummer.
D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s Black Messiah is definitely up there. It features a drumming trifecta with James Gadson, Questlove, and Chris Dave. Also, although he used a lot of samples, anything and everything J Dilla touched has a masterful, simple pocket and is so funky.
I spent an entire practice session learning The Love Movement by A Tribe Called Quest, including reverse engineering the sounds on my acoustic kit.
T. Alex Budrow
Without a doubt, the Roots’ Things Fall Apart. The drumming on that record will be a point of study for drummers for decades to come.
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