Obituary

Roy Hammond, Soul Singer Who Wrote 'Impeach The President,' Dies at 81

Roy C. Hammond
Gilles Petard/Redferns

Roy C. Hammond

Soul singer Roy Hammond, best known for writing and producing the Honey Drippers' often-sampled "Impeach The President," has died at 81.

His daughter told the New York Times that Hammond died on Wednesday at his home in Allendale, South Carolina, as a result of liver cancer.

Hammond was born on Aug. 3, 1939, in Newington, Georgia, and had dreams of being a professional boxer before pivoting to music in the late 1950s, setting off a decade-long run singing, writing and producing hits beginning with the Long Beach, Long Island, group The Genies.

The group hit No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 with "Who's That Knockin'," and after a stint in the Air Force, he got back to work in 1965 under his own name (as Roy C.), releasing  the single "Shotgun Wedding," which hit No. 14 on the R&B chart; he released his debut solo album, That Shotgun Wedding Man in 1966.

He scored more hits through the late 1960s and early 1970s, including "Got To Get Enough (Of Your Sweet Love Stuff)" and "Don't Blame The Man." He released the Sex and Soul album in 1973. He issued two more albums as part of his Mercury Records deal, 1975's Something Nice and 1977's More Sex & More Soul, with an undercurrent of political and social agitation woven throughout his work on songs such as 1971's Vietnam War protest song "Open Letter to the President" and More Sex & More Soul's pointed "Great, Great Grandson of a Slave."

His most lasting legacy, however, came with a song he wrote and produced for a group of Queens high schoolers called the Honey Drippers, whose music he released on his independent Alaga label. Their most notable track was the 1973 funk single "Impeach the President," an agitation against then-president Richard Nixon.

"Some people say that he's guilty (that he's guilty)/ Some people say I don't know (I don't know)/ Some people say, give him a chance (give him a chance)/ Aw, some people say, wait till he’s convicted (till he’s convicted)/ Impeach the president," they sang on the track, which advocated for the impeachment of the President in the midst of the Watergate scandal that ultimately resulted in Nixon's resignation.

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The song's biggest impact, though, is in the booming drums cooked up by Hammond on the track, which have reportedly been sampled more than 600 times on hip-hop tracks, including on MC Shan's "The Bridge," Eric B and Rakim's "Eric B. is President" Kris Kross' "Jump," Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "The Chronic (Intro)," LL Cool J's "Around the Way Girl," Tupac Shakur's "I Get Around," The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Unbelievable" and J. Cole's "Wet Dreamz," as well as songs by Nas, Flo Rida, Digable Planets, Janet Jackson, N.W.A, Big Daddy Kane, Aaliyah, Run-DMC and the Jungle Brothers.

Check out "Impeach The President" below.