Fred Williamson and James Brown Are Down And Out In New York City In Black Caesar

Last week, Pop Politics was almost all politics with very little pop.

To make up for it, James Brown is here to make Monday pop with Down And Out In New York City!

This song is from one of the greatest Blaxploitation films ever made, Black Caesar.  This is the movie in which Tommy Gibbs (played by Fred
“The Hammer” Williamson) rises up through the New York underground, taking down not only the Mafia but also a racist white cop.

Though playing Tommy “Black Caesar” Gibbs made Fred Williamson a star, the role was originally written for Sammy Davis, Jr.

This one of the best crime films of the 70s, a violent and socially conscious crime epic that features Fred Williamson at his swaggering best.  James Brown’s soundtrack provides the perfect background for both Tommy Gibbs’s rise to power and his eventual fall.

Though Black Caesar ended with Tommy’s apparent murder, the film was too much of a box office success for Tommy to stay dead.  Fred Williamson returned to the role in Hell Up In Harlem, this time with a soundtrack provided by Edwin Starr.  Hell Up In Harlem may not be as thoughtful as Black Caesar but it’s still a hell of a ride!