Over ten years later, you can still go to any Hip Hop club or dance party in the world, and when you hear that 1/16 note guitar lick pick-up intro for Dr. Dre‘s Xxplosive right before the beat drops, then combined with the simple drum pattern and the distinctive 1/8 note bass line, it is as fresh as the day it came out. Yes, we all know the Xxplicitness of Xxplosive, but let’s for now put the focus on the instrumentation, the musical merit of one of the most vulgar, yet timeless songs of our lifetime. Let’s pay homage to the late great Isaac Hayes, for he is the one who arranged the song Bumpy’s Lament, which gave birth to the club anthem.
Understandably, the Grammy Award winning and Oscar Award winning title track Shaft from the infamous Shaft Soundtrack gets most of the credit (As a side note, Wikipedia claims that Isaac Hayes was the first African-American to win an Oscar for a non-acting award). It has been redone, but it has more commonly been spoofed to the point of annoyance, usually as the culprits are wearing fake afros and faux 70’s attire. But on that same record are some of the best soundtrack compositions you’ll ever hear, including Bumpy’s Lament which was sampled by Dr. Dre to make Xxplosive, but it was not the Isaac Hayes Shaft Soundtrack version that was credited by Soul Mann And The Brothers, who remade the entire Shaft soundtrack, thus replaying the Isaac Hayes version.
As Isaac Hayes was a master musician, he arranged much more beyond the Shaft Soundtrack. He also contributed his musical talents to the short-lived Shaft TV Series. The Shaft Anthology Soundtrack, which is an extensive catalog for Hayes’ contribution to the Shaft franchise, features two other versions of Bumpy’s Lament. For those of you counting at home, that makes four versions of the song, each one with unique arrangement. Listen to all of the different versions, then vote on which one is you’re favorite arrangement.
Black Moses lives!
Soul Mann & the Brothers
We cannot mention Isaac Hayes’ Bumpy’s Lament without mentioning Erykah Badu and her usage of the sample in her song, Bag Lady which has multiple versions as well.