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Boomkat Product Review:
Coming hot on the heels of his first full length, the self-proclaimed "most sampled artist of all time," released the groundbreaking black concept LP Is It Because I'm Black (a full 13 months before Marvin Gaye's What's Going On).
"Throwing away the notion of a sophomore jinx, Syl delivered this politically charged document. To hear him tell it, Syl Johnson could have been as big as James Brown or Al Green. #1 on the charts, top billing on the marquee, Hall of Fame inductions, tearful tributes... all within his reach, and yet never in his hands. Something, someone, and sometimes-if you believe his lyrics-the sole of a shoe was holding him back. Was it because he's black? Not likely, though his inability to crossover to the pop charts never did him any favors. "I made my opportunities, but I never got the breaks I should have gotten. I was a jack-of-all-trades. More soul than Marvin, more funk than James. If I'd gone pop, you'd be talkin' about me, not them. I rate right at the top, though I've been underrated all my life."