Iconic and golden voice soul legend, Isaac Hayes, has his music living on through his estate and his family. Led by his son Isaac Hayes III, the late singers family have formed Isaac Hayes Enterprises in Atlanta, for projects that will honor and extend his legacy.
They have begun the passion projects by digitizing hundreds of unreleased master recordings that have been unvaulted from Tennessee.
“I was just in awe of the organization and the quality in which he kept things,” recalls Hayes III. “Even [family] photos that I didn’t have or my mom didn’t have that he had, it was kind of just dope. Images and sheet music, photographs, all these masters; there was just so much stuff that he really took pride in preserving and taking care of, some going back to the Sixties.”
Among these recordings are albums and songs from Hayes, who passed away 6 years ago this week, and artists he produced for his record label Hot Buttered Soul, outtakes from work with late jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd and R&B singer Major Harris, and instrumentals ranging from rock, pop and country to disco, funk and electronic music. Not everything has weathered the test of time, but Hayes III has gone to painstaking lengths to restore the recordings that have been damaged. Several reels of analog tape, for example, had to be dehydrated and baked in an oven to rescue the precious, precious arrangements.
Isaac Hayes’ work has been widely sampled for decades and has contributed to the foundation of broad genres including hip-hop and dance music. In fact, it has already sparked the brains of several leading producers in Atlanta who Hayes III recently assembled for a listening session. In the video below hit makers Bryan-Michael Cox, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Organized Noize, Jazze Pha, DJ Toomp and Drumma Boy are seen vibing and brainstorming while listening to the never-before-heard music.
Hayes III says there is the potential to officially release some of this music as well as a tribute album. He plans to relaunch the Hot Buttered Soul label, which will also put out albums that Hayes produced for other artists and intended to release before the fall of Stax Records forced him into bankruptcy in 1976. But, as with every mission of the new Isaac Hayes Enterprises, it’s more important to embark on the right endeavors for the brand than to put out products quickly.
Hayes III, 39, is an accomplished producer in his own right who licenses a steady stream of music to TV and film projects; this year, he has had placements in several Bravo series as well as the films About Last Night and Think Like a Man 2.