Shortly after graduating from Manassas High School in North Memphis and trying his talent with a few doo-wop groups and performing in area clubs with Mar-Key horn player Floyd Newman, Isaac Hayes found his way to Stax Records, where he teamed with songwriting partner David Porter. The two joined with the members of Booker T. & the MGs as the Stax “Big 6,” a production partnership, where they remained a major influence on most Stax recordings released during the 1960s, co-writing and producing some 200 songs and creating acts such as the Soul Children. In the late 1960s, Hayes evolved from working behind the scenes at Stax into a global icon. During this time his solo albums Hot Buttered Soul (1969), the soundtrack to the movie Shaft (1971), and Black Moses (1972) were released. They were sensational successes, and Hayes became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for music, which he received for the song "Theme From Shaft." He remained on the Stax roster until the label’s financial collapse in 1975.
He then formed his own record company, HBS, on which he recorded four albums that all reached the top 20 on the charts, including three disco-influenced LPs and a live double LP with good friend Dionne Warwick. He continued recording for the remainder of his life, but from the early 1980s th, has also concentrated on his film and television career, appearing in more than 60 movies and television shows, including his famed 10-year role as “Chef” on South Park. He has authored two cookbooks and hosted “The Isaac Hayes Top 20 R&B Countdown” show and the nationally syndicated, five-hour “Hot Buttered Love Songs” show that aired in Memphis on WRBO 103.5 Soul Classics. An honorary King of Ghana, Hayes built an 8,000-square-foot-school there, NekoTech, which opened in 1998, and focuses on literacy, education, computer technology, and other modern ways to help underprivileged young people in the region. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2002 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
Hayes passed away in 2008 and his legacy remains one of the most influential in the worlds of music, pop culture, and philanthropy.