July 6, 2006

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Dolemite, The Soundtrack
Relapse Records, 2006

Pull up those big-clown jeans, thou Vanilla Ices, and behold the true source of Snoop's and Ice T's power. The first blaxploitation flick written and directed by African Americans, 1975's Dolemite is to its genre what Blood Freak is to slasher films, so over-the-top silly and hideously shot that it eventually made an utter legend of itself. The alter ego of comedian Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite had kung-fu skillz to seduce kung-fu chicks and take on bad-bangin hustlas, all of which required a soundtrack, of course. The source for this CD was a vinyl LP, its infrequent scratches glazing its funkatronics in a patina too clinically authentic for Quentin Tarantino to make use of, and the title track has it even worse/better being that the treble breaks up if it's cranked up to 2. Along with wakka-wakka guitars paying homage to Shaft and a female singer nicking Roberta Flack, there are random snippets of O'Jays-style choruses, popped-bass lines and a Dolemite "toast" where Moore lists the reasons he's a baaad muck-a-raker (the African origins of the "toast" reach back hundreds of years; it's a tradition that's seen a mild rebirth recently with many folks still not getting the gag). A-

— Eric Saeger


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