The world’s most sampled drum loop is so common you probably hear it every day and don’t realize it. The 6-second drum loop, called the “Amen break,” was taken from a ’60s record and later used to ignite hip-hop music in the ’80s and electronic music in the ’90s. One little break beat was responsible for the creation of drum & bass, jungle, and countless other sub-genres that took and reused the sample how ever they pleased.
In this short documentary created in 2004, Nate Harrison narrates the history of the “Amen break” usage and how it has trickled into the mainstream. The video is simple and straightforward, focusing the camera 90 percent of the time on a record player that’s playing a recording of Nate’s voice. But what starts as an intriguing history lesson, however, becomes a critical look at digital copyright infringement and creative ownership.
At nearly 10 years old, the video might seem a tad outdated, but it’s a fascinating look at music history. In fact, after watching this video, you’re not going to stop hearing the “Amen break” wherever you go.