The Five Best Donald Byrd Samples in Hip-Hop

Donald Byrd in the early 1970s. Photo: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

The music world lost a great earlier this week when 80-year-old jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd passed due to unspecified causes. Byrd’s talented jazz chops saw him craft a career that included acclaimed work with genre greats John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk, but it was his late-’60s and ’70s recordings for Blue Note that endeared him to a new generation of musicians with hip-hop producers finding his increasingly funky grooves irresistible sample sources. (Byrd seemed to appreciate the rap world’s endeavors, and appeared on the first of Guru’s Jazzmatazz albums in 1993.) Here’s hip-hop’s five most effective samples of Donald Byrd’s music.

1. “Wind Parade,” as sampled in Black Moon’s “Buck ’Em Down”

Donald Byrd’s most fondly flipped sample has formed the basis of beats for Organized Konfusion, 2Pac and Ludacris, but Brooklyn’s Black Moon can claim the most natural sounding hook up. Smitten with the song’s funkafied jazz groove, producers Evil Dee and Mr. Walt used “Wind Parade” as the backdrop for the Franklin Avenue Posse kids to spit their weed-inspired raps over, creating a cornerstone early-’90s rap anthem.

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