Isaac Hayes – “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”

Hell of a title, right? But it’s a classic though.

I’ve been on an Isaac Hayes trip for the last few days. I can’t front, I’m a youngin’, so my introduction to the man was as his role of Chef on South Park, and of course, his legendary theme to the badass flick Shaft. It took a little while before I got into his music, spurred on by my appreciation of hip-hop and my desire to track down artists who’ve inspired and been sampled by countless rappers over the years, but when I came across his record, Hot Buttered Soul…? I saw the light. Hayes definitely changed the soul and funk game when he arrived in the ’60s, first writing some of the decade’s most well-known soul tracks and upping the profile of his label, Stax Records, then emerging as a solo act. When he got creative control to make the music he wanted there was no stopping him, and the first record to really introduce himself to the world was his 1969 landmark Hot Buttered Soul.

Again, it took me a while to really appreciate the record. Here Hayes goes in, with legit funk and long jam sessions where the band simply plays on. As I get older, I find myself drawn to the grooves and the experimentation heard, and the feel of it too. The record is powerful, and you just start nodding your head and feeling all kinds of awesome. I love that feeling.

“Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” (copy and pasted that time!) is a highlight of the album, because this track is straight up FUNKY and such a laid back jam that exudes confidence and flair. My first introduction to this song was through samples of it from hip-hop artist Public Enemy on their track, “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.” Dig the wah-wah guitar, the piano keys…and that bassline? MANNNN! Hayes maintained that the name is nonsensical and has no meaning, but the song itself is intriguing, as Hayes speaks about a love, but from his vague lyrics, it could hint at either an interracial affair (which definitely would’ve been taboo at the time), or a tale of drug addiction. Take your pick. Or not. Either way, just get lost in this listen.

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