Original Soundtrack

Baadasss Cinema

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As a compilation of blaxploitation soundtrack selections, Baadasss Cinema certainly gets the job done. Mixing standards like Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" with welcome obscurities like Lonnie Liston Smith's "Expansions," the set provides superb, classic funk and soul recorded between 1971 and 1976 from often-neglected sources. The CD gets serious bonus points for passing up Isaac Hayes' overplayed "Shaft" in favor of his equally great, if not as revered, "Truck Turner." It's especially fascinating to hear some of the more obscure but first-class selections such as Edwin Starr's "Big Papa" (which proves he had more than just his biggest hit "War" in him), or the heavily Latin-influenced cuts by War and the Blackbyrds. So while the set has no duds, there are a couple of caveats. For one thing, the liner notes are extraordinarily unhelpful, detailing nothing about which movie contains which song. For another, the disc is less than one-hour long, which leaves plenty of room to be more thorough. A compiler savvy enough to include Gil Scott-Heron and Roy Ayers could have included "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" by Willie Hutch (from The Mack), or Melba Moore's "Black Enough" (from Cotton Comes to Harlem) . Their absence means this is not quite as conclusive as it wants to be. Still, these are minor flaws, and Baadasss Cinema works as either a worthy companion to Pimps, Players & Private Eyes (which many consider the definitive blaxploitation sampler), or as an excellent primer in its own right.

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