With the release of Marvel Studio’s “Black Panther” around the corner, Director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) and Marvel have enlisted the help of The Weeknd, SZA, Kendrick Lamar, and the TDE label and collective to craft an album inspired by the film that stands on its own. The project follows Kendrick as he steps in the role of the titular super hero and his nemesis, ‘Killmonger’, over a well-produced stage of tribal, urban, and reggae tracks that underline an unapologetically black sound.
“Black Panther” loosely follows the direction of the film, using it’s commercial backdrop to channel themes of pride and redemption into a rich, full soundscape that bellows and knocks from a throne. Do not mistake this project for a run-of-the-mill soundtrack: “Black Panther” enlists veteran and Grammy-winning artists and producers from inside and outside TDE’s in-house production team for a sound deserving of placing the project comfortably in Kendrick’s acclaimed discography.
The project also features new tracks and features from artists like Vince Staples on ‘Opps’ and South African rapper and Kendrick’s favorite artist, Mozzy on the comfortably numb and soulful sounding reggae on ‘Seasons’. California rap collective SOB X ROE ride high on DJ Dahi-produced banger, ‘Paramedic!’, featuring a swagger-filled hi-hat and snare combo that would crip-walk into Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle”.
“Black Panther” brings together powerful, black artist to reshape the image of a movie soundtrack, bridging West Coast and South African sounds and creators. Whether it is Kendrick or T’Challa, “Black Panther” is a crown fitted for a king on his victory lap.