“New Line and WaterTower failed this movie, the legacy of Shaft, Isaac Hayes, and the fans of black motion picture soundtracks.”
Next Friday (June 14th,) the Shaft reboot will make its claim for summer box office supremacy. And while the film brings three generations of black detectives to one screen — with Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson reprising their roles as the foul-mouthed-shoot-first-father-and-son P.I.’s — the franchise’s iconic Isaac Hayes-helmed theme is entirely absent.
In a Billboard op-ed, Isaac Hayes III — executor of the soul legend’s estate — detailed his attempt to offer the studios behind the film an opportunity to tap into hundreds of unreleased songs from his late father to furnish the soundtrack. But they wanted no part in it. Hayes explains that he was approached by the studios in summer of 2017 to participate in the soundtrack’s creation, but was shut out by New Line Cinema, who made the final call.
His father’s score for the 1971 classic took home a pair of Grammys for Best Original Score and Best Instrumental Arrangement — shared with co-writter Johnny Allen — as well as an Oscar for Best Original Song. Though he’s disappointed in the studio’s decision, Hayes III remains “confident that there will be another Shaft film some day and those hi-hats, that signature wah-wah guitar, and those unforgettable Isaac Hayes lyrics will kick off another chapter in the saga.”
The new film’s score is out now, featuring appearances from James Brown, Barry White, Rick James, Switch, and Bobby Bland. But somehow, no Isaac Hayes.