A & E

Rediscovering Curtis Mayfield in Superfly


By Simon Peterson

Ever heard of the movie SuperFly? Well, it came out in 1972 and was directed by Gordon Parks Jr. It chronicles a New York City drug dealer and his friend trying to get out of the dangerous trade that is drug dealing. This movie is full of the disco dancing and fun-loving characters you would expect from a 70’s movie.

Curtis Mayfield is the musician famous for the soundtrack he made for this film, as well as many other albums and singles he made throughout his illustrious career. The score for this film was popular but struggles to stay in the limelight today. However, I believe it is Mayfield’s best creation to date and rivals all the funk music I have heard.

Many of the songs in the soundtrack demonstrate all features of great funk songs. The songs are very rhythmic. They are not focused on the melody and chord progressions, but rather, on a strong bassline. In some ways, the songs are a newer follow-up to bebop jazz.

My personal favourite song is “Pusherman.” I love how the drums, vocals by Curtis Mayfield, and electric guitar stand out the most as they should in a good funk song. This makes the song a pleasure to listen to for me and many others.

Many sample his songs now. An example would be Kanye West, who sampled Mayfield’s “Move on up” in his song “Touch the sky.”

Here are some Curtis Mayfield songs worth checking out:

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