A History of the "Apache" Breakbeat

L.L. Cool J "You Can't Dance" (1985)

Album: Radio
Label: Def Jam
Producer: Rick Rubin

So naturally, somebody rapped on it; just as importantly, somebody sampled it, grabbing a few seconds digitally and manipulating it to their own ends. It's not incidental that this first sampler was Rick Rubin, hip-hop's greatest early producer; nor is it that the rapper who jumped on "Apache" for real was Uncle L in his unrepentant youth. "You Can't Dance" is mostly driven by a hard drum machine, a la most of Rubin's tracks for Cool J's debut, Radio, but at 0:27, in come those bongos, right on the word "dance"-the other thing that break signifies-to make it into a cruel taunt.

Tags: ll_cool_j
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