There aren’t too many pieces of movie music more iconic that “Theme From Shaft.” In 1971, Isaac Hayes wrote the symphonic soul score for Shaft, the movie that arguably kicked off the blaxploitation boom. In doing so, Hayes essentially laid the foundation for how blaxploitation funk should sound: Dramatic orchestral strings, chicken-scratch guitars, tense proto-disco hi-hats, and knowingly intoned lyrics about the hero’s badassery: “Who’s the black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” In the process, Hayes scored his only #1 hit and won an Oscar, becoming the first black person ever to win in a non-acting category.
“Theme From Shaft” has endured — in parodies, in commercials, in drunken impressions, and in samples like the one on Jay-Z’s 1998 posse-cut masterpiece “Reservoir Dogs.” In 2000, John Singleton made a rebooted Shaft movie with Samuel L. Jackson, and Hayes reworked “Theme From Shaft” for the soundtrack. This summer, we’re getting another Shaft movie, one that will bring Jackson together with original Shaft Richard Roundtree and new-generation Shaft Jesse T. Usher. Hayes is no longer with is to do a new version of “Theme From Shaft.” So the new movie’s producers went with… Quavo? Oh boy.
“Too Much Shaft” it the new track from Migos member Quavo and his girlfriend, the Californian rapper Saweetie. Together, the two rap over a sample of the original “Theme From Shaft,” and it is about as lazy and unlistenable as you are currently fearing. Sample lyrics: “Who is the man, yeah / With the bands, yeah / With the plans, yeah.” It’s ugly. Listen below. And while you’re at it, watch the trailer for the new Shaft movie, which at least looks potentially fun.
For a much better example of an Atlanta-trap update of an old blaxploitation theme, please consult Future and PartyNextDoor’s “No Shame,” from last year’s Superfly remake.