Yo Ho, WeRCatz here!

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Curtis Mayfield’s1970 debut solo album Curtis. Departing from the common sounds from his former group The Impressions, Mayfield produced his album and released it on his own label Curtom Records. Curtis places social concerns, political topics, and the problems of the time for African Americans as its subject matter.

Two singles cement Mayfield’s legacy that transcend:

“(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go” is as relevant today as it was in 1970. The problems with race relations and the warning of these relations falling apart in the inner cities of the US are all told in this track.

“Move On Up” is a message about moving up in the world through perseverance, faith in one’s abilities, and fighting to make one’s dreams come true in the midst of problems. At nearly nine minutes in length, “Move On Up” didn’t make the charts in the US but the edited version was prominent in the UK charts.

Curtis is one of the first albums that openly expressed the trials of African Americans and also expresses African-American pride. Curtis Mayfield was definitely ahead of his time as the subject matter he wrote about still exists today.