NEW YORK CITY'S RALPH VARGAS AKA DA PHUNKY DRUMMA

Born in Manhattan Ralph Vargas, aka Da Phunky Drumma, has quietly been creating some of the world's most recognizable beats for the past 30 years. The genius behind such successful beats as Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are, Dr. Dre's Xxplosive, Wu-Tang Clan's 7th Chamber, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Brooklyn Zoo, commercials for Sprite, Infiniti, documentaries for MSNBC, and blockbuster movies and TV like; the Netflix series Luke Cage, Limitless and Never Back Down— Da Phunky Drumma helps inspire new sounds and beats that will last for generations.

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DA PHUNKY DRUMMA SAMPLE BEATS

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

Ralph Vargas aka Da Phunky Drumma live performance at the Beacon Theater in New York City. "New Edition Live."

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

*Samples are a derivative of Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" Vol.1 & 2 Compilations aka Da Phunky Drumma.

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A RETROSPECTIVE REVISITIED: RALPH VARGAS AKA DA PHUNKY DRUMMA

Ralph Vargas's "Funky Drummer" aka Da Phunky Drumma

A retrospective revisited, revised, re-edited and reworked. I envisioned the original concept in early 1992. I realized at the time rappers and/or producers were taken the drum loops of past released records. At that moment. I did some research at the record stores and my ears were constantly glued to music being released at the time, and I found out that the only records that existed with loops on it was the same old recycled loops. The majority of the loops contained music associated within the track. So I decided to put together an album with “Live” drum loops. I had a friend (Rick Roberts) who had his own label in Queens JBR records. I approached him with the idea and convinced him that this would sell as a specialty record for producers, remixes, Dj’s. He said ok let’s do it, you and me will do this as a side project. So we worked out the specifics and moved forward in doing the project. I did some research and always stayed on top of what was happening in the rap game. I found out about Firehouse Recording Studios 150 West. 28th street Bet. 7th & 6 Ave suite 302. NY. NY. 10001 in the Chelsea area through various album credits all the rappers were using that studio. The studio was owned by Mr. Yoram Vazan. So I said this was the studio I was going to book the sessions. At this point I started compiling my loops.  I booked time at firehouse through Durham. I came to the studio with my drums A Yamaha 18”x22” Stage Custom Bass drum (Remo Ambassador Coated Head) with two snares a 1970’s 8 Lug  Gretsch  (Model # 4153- 14”x7 ½” deep Wood Shell) Remo 14” Coated Powerstroke 3/W Dot Head. And A 1970’s Rogers ( Dynasonic 14”x5” Chrome Shell 10 Lugs).  With( Remo Clear Pinstripe Head) No rack toms at all Strictly Hip-Hop. The Hi-hat cymbals were Zildjian 14” And A 22” Heavy Ride Zildjian Cymbal DW 5000 (Single Foot Pedal) Regal 5B Nylon Tip Sticks. DW Hi-Hat

 That was where I first met (Carlos Bess) The recording engineer, little did I know he was right in my back yard, with family members living in my building. Well when I entered the studio September 16th 1993 to record “The Funky Drummer Vol. 1” and introduced myself, and spoke to him about the project that I was about to record and asked him if he had ever recorded “Live “Drums before? I wanted to know if he knew about drum miking techniques. He actually did not, but it did not matter for we went with and wanted a dirty raw edgy sound. He (Carlos Bess) played an important & integral part in the developing of the sound and exposing this project to the masses in the Hip Hop world, for that I am truly grateful. Carlos also told me at that time he wanted to put together a drum loop album also and ask me would I mind if he could contribute towards the

album and be involved. To be honest I had reservations because I already had a concept in my head.  But I eventually gave in. He started delivering all ready used recycle loops which I did not want because those kinds of records existed already.  And I also did not want the artist of the loops coming after us. My idea was to come “Live” so I agreed against my better judgment and used the recycled loops as fillers for the album.  At this time Carlos brought to my attention he also plays drums, which made it more exciting.   We had a ball recording it.  We also did a lot of experiments with ideas.  We recorded with t shirts on the snares to create different textures in the sound.  We also recorded in the lobby of “Firehouse” 3rd floor in front of the elevators.  We utilized the natural acoustics of the hallway for that big open natural reverb sound.  At this point we both started exchanging grooves. I even also got behind the console to record (Carlos) playing drums.  We both reduplicated some of the most popular used beats, and also created new ones. The ones that I reduplicated “Live” were the most popular used beats, and then I thought up the idea to initial the tracks with the original artist incorporated within the titles.  It was also used so I could recognize the song and know the type of loop it was when searching for it at a glance. Well when the record was done and pressed up. I gave Carlos and Yoram first copies of the record. The record was release in 1993 for commercial sale and file under Specialty.   They put up the record in the studio lounge for display the way they did with other artistes that had releases recorded at the “Firehouse” studios and every time the record was displayed it was stolen.  It was put up at least four times.  For me and Carlos this was the beginning of what was to be.  We went on to record “Funky Drummer Vol. 2” About 3,000 copies where printed for “Funky Drummer Vol. 1” and 2,500 for Vol.  2 The rest is history. It was only a limited run and both volumes have been out of print for years and are extremely rare.  At the time we did not know that technology would change everything about it. And its usage, it’s more prevalent now then it was at its release.  It went viral this is the reason the price is so high if you go on the internet.  I have seen it for $200 to $800 a copy. It has been said that the “Funky Drummer” beats have been used in over 22,000 different media formats such as Cartoons, Commercials, Movies, TV series, sampled audio Recordings, Sound Library Software.

 

“The Rest Is History”

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