Just like his mid-'70s contemporaries, James Brown infused his music with cinematic underpinnings that suggested the blaxploitation movie craze of the era. Some examples would include Curtis Mayfield's Superfly movie soundtrack and hit singles by First Choice ("The Player") and the Temptations ("Masterpiece"). Like Mayfield, Brown composed the soundtracks for two American International Pictures releases: Black Caesar and Slaughter's Big Rip Off (which included the Top Six R&B smash "Sexy, Sexy, Sexy"). The latter starred former pro-football star-turned-actor Fred Williamson and it would boast Brown's biggest soundtrack-related hit, the million-selling "The Payback," though it never was included on a soundtrack. The tension of the movie's action-packed story line wasn't the only reason for the track's brittle anxiety. Brown had plenty of anxiety in his life at the time: the over-300-dates-a-year concert schedule that earned the singer the title of the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business also contributed to his health problems. Add to that the fact that his then-recent releases didn't break into the Top Ten, and most troubling of all, Brown lost his son in a fatal automobile accident that past June. After Brown, trombonist/bandleader Fred Wesley, and drummer Jabo Starks had viewed scenes from the upcoming Black Caesar sequel, Hell up in Harlem, Brown tore up the lyrics to a song Wesley had been working on after he had completed recording the basic instrumental track at Augusta, GA's International Studios with Starks, guitarists Jimmy Nolan and Hearlon "Cheese" Martin, bassist Fred Thomas, and John Morgan on tambourine. Brown came up with new lyrics, with his anxiety causing him to dot his vocals with the word "damn" during the original unedited vocal sessions. Brown's turmoil comes through quite loud and clear, not only making for one of the singer's most revealing and listener-affecting vocals (due in part to the track's stark, sparse mix), but also some sense of empathy for the loss of his son. It's said that film producer Larry Cohen told Fred Wesley on first hearing that "The Big Payback" wasn't "funky enough." This was a big mistake that lead to AIP losing what would have been Brown's movie ticket-generating classic. Selling over a million copies, "The Payback" parked at two weeks and peaked at number 26 pop in spring 1974. Co-written by producer Brown, Wesley, and Starks, the cut became a steppers' favorite and a musical touchstone as well as a source for sampling opportunities for the hip-hop/rap acts of the '90s and beyond. The Payback LP went gold and included the popular, radio-aired "Mind Power" and the Top Four R&B smash "Stoned to the Bone."