Velvet-voiced soul singer Syl Johnson struggled for decades before leaving the music business in the 1980s to open a Chicago fried-fish chain. Since then, he’s become one of the most-sampled artists in hip-hop. The list of artists who’ve used his 1967 song “Different Strokes” includes Run-DMC, NWA, Public Enemy, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Beastie Boys, Kid Rock, Michael Jackson, Jay Z and Kanye West. With a lively soundtrack and an original score by Yo La Tengo, this buoyant world premiere documentary celebrates one man who can’t stop the music.
Featuring interviews with RZA (the Wu-Tang Clan), Prince Paul (De La Soul and Handsome Boy Modeling School), Peanut Butter Wolf (Stones Throw Records), Jazzy Jay (Afrika Bambaataa’s Soulsonic Force), Jonathan Lethem (writer), Louis “Breakbeat Lou” Flores (Ultimate Breaks & Beats), Otis Clay (Hi Records artist) Ken Shipley & Rob Sevier (Numero Group) and Syleena Johnson (singer and star of TV One’s R&B Divas: Atlanta).
Directed by Rob Hatch-Miller, produced by Puloma Basu and Michael Slaboch, edited by Joaquin Perez and executive produced by Tom Scharpling and Diana Holtzberg. The official poster (above) is designed by Rob Carmichael of Seen Studio.