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Breakbeat refers to both a distinct musical section and a genre. The first usage relates to a section in a song where the melodic instruments drop out and the drum part becomes the focus for a limited number of bars. These breakbeat sections are often sampled by hip hop artists and used as the basis for new songs.

Breakbeat as a musical style refers to an electronic music genre that features sampled breakbeats and other lo-fi samples. After US hip hop acts began using sampled breakbeats in the 1980s, the technique jumped the pond and began being used in UK rave music, resulting in breakbeat hardcore. This style features a mix of four-on-the-floor bass drum patterns as well as breakbeats. Breakbeats are often highly syncopated and can be polyrhythmic.

Notable artists that incorporate breakbeats include Krafty Cuts, DJ Icey and The Chemical Brothers.

X-Planation is an example of a Q-Asar artist which uses breakbeats.