History of the Amen Break

The Amen Break is the most famous drum sample in modern music. Just six seconds of a drum solo on an obscure B-side by gospel group The Winstons (for a song called “Amen Brother”) has become the main ingredient on rap songs like NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” and pretty much all of drum and bass. Nate Harrison’s Installation is really a way of making a documentary without having to clear rights, which is what the second half of the doc covers. It’s also what I hoped will start happening to docs–with a need to make a visual essay, doc filmmakers will have to go underground or create installations in order to bypass restrictive copyright laws. Then maybe we’ll start to see film and video versions of Greil Marcus or Lester Bangs.

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