Isaac Hayes is committed to various Halls of Fame; his song writing and compositions are cited as some of the most influential of all time, his compositions soundtrack the dynamic generation that defines more of the great music we enjoy than any other single person, excluding possibly Michael Jackson, and yet most people my age (and under) will remember him being used, and allegedly abused as Chef in cartoon satire South Park, and the accompanying ‘hit single’ Chocolate Salty Balls.
Aside from his magical, atmospheric original music, Hayes represents an important shift in the story of Hip-Hop and Rap. Before the early 90’s Hip-Hop was defined as sampling what Malcolm McLaren called ‘disposable pop music’. With the emergence of artists such as Jay-Z, MOP, Mobb Deep and LL Cool J came a change in style. The bitter, sodden, soulful, atmospheric music of Isaac Hayes became a sample goldmine for artists wishing to recreate the tone of their upbringing. Since storytelling became a big of an East Coast MC’s expression; Hayes’ cinematic sound became an essential accompaniment to the vivid pictures these pioneers were painting. Separate from this; West Coast artists such as NWA and Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and The Alkaholics developed a style based on Hayes’ funky basslines, and rhythmic guitar riffs. This directly influenced the mass-appeal quality that later lead Dr Dre to be one of the top Hip-Hop producers in the world.
Cashmere Thoughts found over 400 Hip-Hop/Rap songs that credited Isaac Hayes’ samples, below is a list of our favourite 25 – you’ll be surprised at how far his influence reaches, and how his music was reinterpreted to continue the story of Hip-Hop.
In 2011 MP3’s present a subtle evil in our ‘free-music’ haven: Lack of Accreditation. With CD’s and Vinyl a fan could trace the sample origins and over time discover who’s original creative vision and talent had directly contributed to the music they were buying. Kanye West (of all people) presented a new idea to combat this anonymity. When he sampled Curtis Mayfield on The Joy (prod by Pete Rock) he added his name into the track title, which washed around the web as a new release from Kanye is destined to do. I know for a fact it refreshed my interest in Mayfield’s music, and I began to dig around his music on any format I could.
We can all help. A simple mention in a blog post, if you know and recognise the sample, can help to ensure Isaac Hayes’ legacy extends beyond the vulgarity of his later years. His original music stands up for itself- but his influence on the Hip-Hop music we love should also, in our opinion, be humbly recognised.