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Edwin Birdsong (1941 – 2019), Influential funk keyboardist

AP Photo / Invision / Rob Latour

Sampled by De La Soul and Daft Punk

Edwin Birdsong (1941 – 2019) was an influential keyboardist whose funk/jazz grooves were sampled by many Hip-Hop artists including De La Soul and Gang Starr. De La Soul sampled Birdsong’s  “Rapper Dapper Snapper” on their iconic song “Me Myself and I” and French electronic duo Daft Punk sampled “Cola Bottle Baby” on their 2001 hit “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Birdsong was a session player who worked with Stevie Wonder and released two solo albums.  

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Died: Monday January 21, 2019. (Who else died on January 21?) 

Details of death: Died at the age of 77, according to his daughter, Angela Birdsong. 


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Surprise that his music was being sampled: “I recorded it 30 years ago and here comes some guys from France...I asked them, ‘Where did you find the music?’ And they said, ‘I was going through bins and it popped out...and then Kayne West also sampled the same song. I’m blessed and I continue to be blessed....” - Birdsong in a 2017 interview with Jazz Under the Bridge 

Tribute: “Many owe their careers to the genius of Edwin Birdsong. Rest in Peace. May your offerings to music never be forgotten.” - Sybil Lynch on Facebook 

Full obituary: New York Times 

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