What are we learning?
In this episode of Learning Licks, we’ll be learning a drum break from Karriem Riggins’ performance at Zildjian Underground. Karriem Riggins is right at the forefront of hip hop drumming and is one of the pioneers of taking the J Dilla feel from the decks to the drum kit; pushing the boundaries between straight and swing feel, alongside drummers such as Chris Dave and Questlove. The Zildjian Underground series is worth checking out for some hard hitting hip hop grooves, so far featuring Karriem Riggins, Mark Collenburg and Adam Deitch and with Nate Smith coming soon.
What is he playing?
The main groove is a perfect example of that swung/ straight feel. I’ve notated it as 16th note triplets to be as accurate as possible, but it really will just be a case of locking in with Riggins and getting comfortable with the feel! The lick is notated in the fourth bar and is made up of fast 16th note triplets, between the hi hat, snare and bass drum. The lick is primarily based on double strokes and RLL stickings, with a lot of ghost notes and a crash cymbal accent on the last 16th note triplet of beat ‘2’ and an open hi hat on the third 16th note triplet of beat ‘3’ (3+a).
Things to watch out for!
This lick is really fast, so start really nice and slow and get used to the phrasing to begin. Really focus on the dynamics between your ghost notes and accents to get the feel sounding right. Practise playing control strokes (an accent followed by a ghost note) in simple grooves for a while if this is new for you!
Check out the full video of Karriem Riggins killing it on Youtube and download the PDF for free below!
Notation: Learning Licks - #13 - Karriem Riggins - Zildjian Underground