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Wednesday, Jun 9 2004
While not as widely heralded as Shaft or Superfly, Melvin Van Peebles 1971 classic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song helped set the template for an entire decade of blaxploitation cinema. And that movie's soundtrack -- performed almost entirely by a young Earth, Wind & Fire -- may have been equally influential in its blending of funk, soul, jazz, and post-'60s psyche into a potent bitch's brew that has been endlessly imitated and gratuitously sampled (check Quasimoto's The Unseen). Baadasssss -- the recently released soundtrack for a documentary on the making of the film -- is more concerned with taking a trip down memory lane than breaking any new ground. While it does feature contributions from hip hop luminaries Pete Rock and Jean Grae, the focus is on the throwback tracks, such as Roy Ayers' extended vibe workout on "Green and Gold," the "sukkie sukkie" soul of King Floyd's "Groove Me," and War's classically funky "Get Down." This soundtrack is strictly for fans of the old school.

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Sam Chennault


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