The code of the beat.

Marquee Names: Isaac Hayes – “Soulsville”


A reminder to incorporate feeling in the music.

“Soulsville,” from the movie Shaft. This is my favorite Isaac Hayes joint. The scene in Shaft where this song plays is so appropriate. The images — which are certainly no Hollywood props, but instead, real glimpses of early 1970s impoverished Harlem — are heartbreaking and encouraging at the very same time. And what makes this montage rise and resonate is Hayes’s “Soulsivlle.”

“Soulsville,” a poignant song teeming with depth and force, is one of the songs that has had the most effect on the ways in which I strive to underscore my music with feeling. The collective (often meticulous) processes of making beats can lead a beatmaker to create music that’s audibly pleasing yet devoid of feeling. And so to guard against this pitfall, I’m mindful of giving every beat that I make a “soul.” In fact, I embrace the notion that every piece of music that I create is, in some way, an extension of me. Therefore, every sound that I craft and/or use, even down to the most truncated hi-hat, must fit within my own style and preferred audio composite. For when I do so, I know that I am injecting soul and genuine feeling into my music.

The music video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Isaac Hayes – “Soulsville”

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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual