Soul music icon Isaac Hayes was found dead in his Memphis home early Sunday morning (August 10).
The pioneering R&B singer was found laying on the floor near a tread mill in his home.
Hayes, 65, was rushed to Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, where he was pronounced dead, around 2:00 am.
One of the main creative forces behind soul music in the 60s and 70s, Hayes made his name as an in-house producer and songwriter for Stax Records with formidable partner David Porter.
He became a recording artist and released the influential albums Hot Buttered Soul (1968) and Black Moses (1970).
The former featured the seminal “Walk On By,” which has been sampled by numerous artists including the Notorious BIG (“Warning”), Tupac (“Me Against the World”), Faith Evans (“No Other Love”), and Comptons Most Wanted (“Hood Took Me Under).”
One of the most popular Hip-Hop anthems, The Geto Boys’ 1991 classic single “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” was powered by Hayes’ track “Hung Up On My Baby,” from his 1974 album, Tough Guys.
The loss hit Geto Boys’ founding member Scarface particularly hard.
“Wow, this is some cold news to get,” a shaken Scarface told AllHipHop.com in an exclusive interview. “I knew Isaac Hayes personally, I actually got a chance to go into the studio with him.” Scarface continued, saying, “‘Mind Playing Tricks On Me was originally my solo song. I wrote three verses. I wrote my verse and then Bill took my last verse. Then Willie D. wrote his verse. I produced that song. I cant believe this s**t. I been f**king with Black Moses forever. I grew up in a music household. Thats all we jammed.”
Also a respected film composer, Hayes earned an Academy Award for his work on Shaft (1971), which stands today as his most accomplished and well-known work.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Isaac Hayes, a true historic world music figure. Isaac Hayes was the first African-American to win an Oscar for a music score but never lost sight of his commitment to his community and the betterment of mankind,” Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network, told AllHipHop.com. “He was more than an artist he was a trailblazer, He was an innovator. He was a creative genius. I shall never forget how in the height of his career he still had time to work and lend his celebrity to those of us much younger and at that time who were totally unknown. Even in his later years he never hesitated to appear for a cause or endorse something that he felt was for the good of mankind. He will be sorely missed.”
Rev. Sharpton will dedicate his radio program tonight to Isaac Hayes at 9:00p.m. on KISS 98.7 FM in New York, where Isaac Hayes was the morning DJ in the late 90’s.
As an actor, Hayes has appeared in over 20 films including Truck Turner (1974), Im Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), Posse (1993), and Hustle and Flow (2005).
An important figure in Hip-Hop due to sampling, his songs such “The Look of Love” have provided the musical foundation for Jay-Z (“Can I Live”), LL Cool J (“Hollis to Hollywood”), Mary J. Blige (“I Love You”) and many more.
“First condolences to Ike Dirty his son and his entire family,” Atlanta rapper Killer Mike told AllHipHop.com referring to Hayes son and producer Ike Dirty. “Thank God we were blessed with his music and his incredible work. He truly made Soul music bare to the bone. I’m a better artist because of my mama playing his music.”
In later years, he became known to a new generation of fans through the Comedy Central series South Park, where he voiced the role of the affable but raunchy Chef.
Hayes would leave the show in 2005 due to differences with the creators over their religious satire.
Hayes was scheduled to celebrate 50 years of Stax Records on Friday (August 15) at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, where he headlined a bill that included performances by William Bell, Eddie Floyd, The Bar-Kays.
More information to follow as further details emerge.