Of all the movies that could have been expected to receive a sequel, John Singleton’s 2000 detective thriller Shaft, itself a sequel of the 1971 Blaxploitation classic by the same name, probably wouldn’t have been high on the list. Maybe that’s what makes the idea so exciting; it’s not a reboot or a reboot of a reboot, but it’s not the typical superhero franchise installment either. Of course, Shaft is considered something like the first Black superhero on film in some circles (the titular private investigator was an inspiration for the Marvel character Luke Cage), and every superhero needs theme music. Enter: Quavo and Saweetie with “Too Much Shaft.”
The song is an update of the iconic theme from the 1971 original created by Isaac Hayes, “Theme From Shaft.” Its title is likely a reference to the film’s topsy-turvy premise: Not only does the new film follow Jessie T. Usher as the youngest John Shaft (Jr.) as he desperately tries to avoid entering the family business, but both prior Shafts, Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson, also appear to aid him when he gets pulled in anyway. Quavo and Saweetie’s new theme borrows from the original in the form of a chopped-up sample, now complete with a bouncy, jock jam backbeat and crooning from Quavo while Saweetie offers the “Shaft” chant that helped make the original so iconic. While it doesn’t reach the heights of some of the couple’s previous collaborations — it limits their undeniable chemistry with its call-and-response format — it’s serviceable as a way to introduce younger fans to the joys of Isaac Hayes’ ice-cold original.
Intriguingly, Shaft isn’t the only ’70s classic to get a modern update. Last year, Superfly was re-made as an Atlanta drug tale with soundtrack input from Future. If a Blaxploitation revival is on the horizon, the smart producer will look to action legend Pam Grier’s oeuvre and cast a female rapper as Cleopatra Jones or Coffy (sorry, Foxy Brown is already taken) and take full advantage of two emerging trends at once.
Saweetie is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music.