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Otis Redding and Muhammad Speaks

Dec. 10, 2017, was the 50th anniversary of Redding’s transition. Jay Z and Kanye West introduced the hip-hop generation to Redding in 2011 when they recorded the track, “Otis.” Forty-four years before that, Redding was on top – known as the most popular male vocalist on Planet Earth. Redding was so popular in England that he ended Elvis Presley’s eight-year reign as the “world’s best male vocalist” on Melody Maker’s annual pop poll in 1967. According to Amiri Baraka, Redding said things in Muhammad Speaks “more ‘radical,’ Blacker, than many of the new musicians.”