Yaphet Kotto Revisited
Yaphet Kotto Have You Dug His Scene b/w Have You Ever Seen the Blues 45 (Chisa, 1968)
A great actor who unfortunately came up when the Hollywood system allowed for only one or two Black actors to play prominent roles in marque movies. Had Kotto started in the 1990s, you would know his name as well as you know Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, and Samuel Jackson. But as it is, Yaphet Kotto remains a cult figure known mostly for his role as the best Bond villain, Dr. Karanga AKA Mr. Big, from Live & Let Die. Kotto fans thrill every time they see him show up in a bit role on TV or as a character in a movie.
Kotto did this jazz poetry blast back in '68, and it comes off as a bit less Burn Baby, Burn than the Last Poets. Perhaps that is because Kotto is the son of a Cameroonian prince! And his producer on this is fellow African Hugh Masekela. Coming from Africa and seeing the plight of American Blacks in the 1960s, especially the institutionalized poverty, is a bit different than living it. So maybe that is why Kotto doesn't spit the same rage as the Last Poets. Or maybe he is just a different cat. Man, I don't wanna kill your head so forget that jive for a second and check out Kotto's Beat-inspired 'try (as in poe'try).