Jazz artist Donald Byrd died on Monday February 4th, at the age of 80. Though some might not know his name, his music (both as a solo artist and as a member of The Blackbyrds) fueled samples for classic tracks by acts like A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, The Phyarcyde, Black Moon, Nas, Ice Cube, Main Source, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and much more. Over the next few pages, you can listen to just a taste of the many key songs of his that helped lay the foundation for hip-hop. RIP Donald Byrd.
Rock Creek Park
Arguably the best known song of Byrd's voluminous catalog, this funky joint was the foundation for music by Eric B. & Rakin, NWA, De La Soul, Ultramagnetic MCs and more. And, it will still get the party started at any barbecue to this day.
This soulful groove was sampled for Tupac's Definition of a Thug N*gga, Black Moon's Buck 'Em Down and many more.
This dark and moody song has been sampled by everyone from Kurious Jorge to Horace Brown to Big K.R.I.T. The lush chords have made it one of my all time favorite Byrd joints for years.
The Beatnuts dug deeply in the crates to find the sample for Props Over Here in this gem, which starts around the 2 minute mark.
Whatever you do, stick around until the 1:40 mark on this one. If you are a fan of Main Source, A Tribe Called Quest, Lisa Lisa...you will be rewarded.