Happy Birthday, Isaac Hayes!
Isaac Hayes easily ranks in the Top 10 when it comes to history's all-time soul artists. The late but eternal Black Moses would've turned 73 years old today (Aug. 20).
Before he became the Chef on South Park, Hayes was known as one of the most powerful voices of soul, mixing force and passion with unquestionable earnestness. There's a reason nobody pressed him for referring to himself as Black Moses. Hayes rose from working at a meatpacking plant to becoming one of history's greatest aphrodisiacs.
His sophomore album, Hot Buttered Soul, released in 1969, displayed Hayes' earth-rupturing abilities in full force. It was one of soul's most grandiose albums, a collection of 10-minute songs that rarely lost its sanguine thrill. Black Moses, the 90-minute epic that came two years later, was also a landmark record.
Of course, there's no Hayes career synopsis without mentioning Shaft. The landmark blaxploitation flick was buoyed by Hayes' soundtrack, which featured the instantly recognizable and parody-worthy theme song. The "Theme From Shaft" song topped the Billboard charts just a month after its release. In 2000, Hayes re-recorded the theme for the new version of the film.
Hayes continued releasing music throughout the '90s, and penned another pop culture hallmark when he wrote "Soul Man," a Sam & Dave hit that got revived when the Blues Brothers, the Saturday Night Live duo of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, performed it.
Then came his role as the Chef on South Park, and of course, one of the character's greatest comedic moments came from the musical bit "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)," a juvenile but memorable sexual entendre.
The lauded singer performed until he passed away from stroke-related complications in 2008. His legacy is monolithic -- not just because of his talent, but because of how he's still the prototypical figure of righteous black masculinity.
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