Never mind the misleading band name: Average White Band were racially mixed, but still hailed from very unfunky Scotland. Amazingly, the [usually] sextet created a brand of Seventies R&B with a serious swing that sounded really American, and really soulful. Their songs were rife with juicy breakbeats, and as such have provided the sampled backbone for countless classic hip-hop joints.
Here's "Schoolboy Crush," from the band's 1975 album Cut the Cake. If you're a Nas fan, you'll recognize that beginning beat with the rattling sleigh bell -- that's the basis "Halftime," from Illmatic. Or you might recognize it (and the guitar lick) from Eric B. & Rakim's "Microphone Fiend."
Just a few other hip-hop tracks that have mined the song:
"De La Soul: “D.A.I.S.Y. Age”
Public Enemy: “Pollywannacracka”
Beatnuts: “Ya Don’t Stop”
Too Short: “Life is Too Short”
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X-Clan: “Grand Verbalizer”