6. 'Superfly' (1972)
Sure, the title track – all slithering groove and Curtis Mayfield's sublime, psychologically-incisive vocals – is a stone classic, as is the famous blaxploitation soundtrack's other hit, the wah-wah-laced "Freddie's Dead." But "Pusherman" (sampled by rappers from Ice-T to Eminem) is a masterpiece of first-person narrative funk-fiction. And the big-band-noir instrumentals showed Mayfield, long revered as one of R&B's greatest singer-songwriters, to be one of its most gifted composers and arrangers as well.