In addition to providing percussion for the Majestic Arrows album, Hassan had his hands all over the soundtrack to 1976’s Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy. Hassan, however, had bigger aspirations than providing backup to a dirty Cheshire Cat. He fancied himself a singer and wanted to cut his own single. The fact that he couldn’t carry a tune failed to dampen this ambition. What Hassan could do is in full display on the Phillips and Cope–produced “Ghetto King.” The song featured a funky Shaft-style backing, a wash of urban street sounds, and Hassan rapping the tale of the titular pimp and pusher: “This is the story of a bad mean dude, talking about shrewd, baby…this brother can pitch pennies and make ’em turn into nickels, dimes and quarters—that’s super cold!” Issued on the Ken-Will imprint in 1974, the record stalled out, purportedly due to the efforts of Chicago activist and Operation PUSH founder the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who decried “Ghetto King” for its glorification of drugs and dealers. Arrow Brown began managing Hassan, envisioning the tall, charismatic musician as a potential movie star. There’s some evidence that Hassan and Brown conceived a Blaxploitation film based on “Ghetto King.” Hassan drifted out of the scene after “Ghetto King” failed to find its way to screens.

Hassan Appears on: