Roy “Roy C” Hammond, the soul singer best known for writing and producing the Honey Drippers’ song “Impeach the President” has died at the age of 81. The New York Times confirmed Hammond died in his home on Sept. 16 in Allendale, S.C. due to liver cancer.
Born Roy Charles Hammond on August 3, 1939 in Newington, Ga., Hammond once dreamed of becoming a professional boxer but eventually pivoted to music in the late 1950s, beginning with writing and producing hits for The Genies. Taking the professional name of “Roy C,” in 1965 Hammond released the single “Shotgun Wedding”; his debut solo album titled That Shotgun Wedding Man was released the following year.
In the ‘70s, Hammond’s songs were colored with political and social agitation such as the Vietnam War protest song “Open Letter to the President” and “Great, Great Grandson of a Slave.”
Then, came his most impactful hit. Released in 1973, “Impeach the President” was the Honey Drippers’ artistic way of advocating for the impeachment of then-president Richard Nixon during the infamous Watergate scandal (which led to his impeachment process). In addition to the song being especially timely these days, it has had quite the longlasting impact on the music industry. Even if you haven’t heard the original, you most likely know those drums if you’re a hip-hop head on any level.
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.
Hammond’s daughter, Sabrina Hammond-Williams recently confirmed with NewsChannel 6 WJBF that funeral arrangements have been set and a public service will be held Saturday, September 26 at 11 a.m. on the Allendale-Fairfax football field at 3305 Allendale-Fairfax Hwy. in S.C. There is currently a memorial fund set in Hammond’s name; all details (including information to send flowers) are on the late singer’s Facebook page.
Rest in power, Roy C.