Gettin' the Shaft

'Black Moses' emerges from the bulrushes with two albums and a broken heart

As such, Hayes was left behind on the list of influences, relegated to a period piece though his best work at Stax and as a solo artist ranks up there with anything from Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, even Stevie Wonder; at the very least, Luther Vandross and R. Kelly owe a debt of gratitude. If nothing else, his two new albums--one of which contains the astounding "Birth of Shaft," the other a remake of his 1969 "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" with Public Enemy's Chuck D--will serve as a reminder that Isaac Hayes deserves to be remembered fondly.

At least, that is what Hayes hopes.
"When I was out of the business--when I was out of the mainstream--I would see stuff on TV, on various shows, and my name was never mentioned," Hayes says without any bitterness, "and sometimes people who contributed less than I did were mentioned. And sometimes, friends would get upset: 'Man, with all that stuff you done?' And I would say, 'Aw, don't worry about it, eventually the truth will surface.'

"The reason with this record and doin' all the press is it gives me an opportunity to speak on these things and to enlighten. It gives me a chance to inform because a lot of kids out there buyin' records have no idea that to a great extent, my efforts are behind a lot of things they're listening to or has contributed to a lot of trends or contributed to inspiring certain artists that have done well. And I don't want to sound like Little Richard--'I invented that! I did this!'--and that's why I never said anything. I figured it would happen.

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