Isaac Hayes had a legendary career, no doubt. From songwriter extraordinaire (you know he wrote “Soul Man”, right?) to singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist, coming up with the theme to “Shaft” as well as excellent covers of songs like “Walk On By”, “The Look of Love” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix”, the man was impossibly smooth as well as funky,not always the easiest combination in the world to manage. No one, with the exception of one-time duet partner Barry White, managed to combine the two so effortlessly.

The cover of Isaac Hayes\' iconic classic \"Hot Buttered Soul\"

That said, my first memory of Isaac Hayes is not a musical one, but a visual one. There was an album he released in the mid-late Seventies, which was a sharp close-up of his face. I was scared of it when I was little. Then again, I was also scared of Prince’s “Dirty Mind” cover. What do you think about that, Sigmund Freud? I also remember the first time I had my head shaved (long before it became popular even for black folks), someone remarking that I was trying to look like Isaac Hayes.

Anyway, I’m not gonna bore you with an extended eulogy or a list of his accomplishments. I’m just gonna leave you with two clips that I think do Isaac justice. The first is a 1973 performance of the theme from “Shaft”, the one funk song that even the nerdiest white guy in the world knows the words to, and the second is a collection of Chef-related “South Park” clips, culminating in a performance of Chef’s signature song “Chocolate Salty Balls”. Come on, how come no one on YouTube has an actual version of this song? (for those who don’t know, Hayes portrayed the cafeteria chef for several years on the irreverent animated comedy). Something tells me that Isaac (like most people who pass on) would want to be remembered with a smile. Relax in paradise, Mr. Hayes.