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Review: Kendrick Lamar, company deliver on ‘Black Panther’ soundtrack

(Photo courtesy of Interscope Records)
(Photo courtesy of Interscope Records)

If you thought you were excited about “Black Panther,” just wait until you hear the official soundtrack.

The soundtrack for the highly anticipated movie brings even more hype to the experience.

Co-Produced by hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar, industry icon, CEO and founder of Top Dawg Entertainment Anthony Tiffith, and “Black Panther’s” director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale StationCreed) the “Black Panther” soundtrack delivers 14 phenomenal, extremely black tracks.

The album spotlights artists from all over the world. From Toronto to California, Texas, London and all the way down to South Africa; the project puts the artists’ blackness at the forefront.

Lamar really outdid himself on this album, but so does everyone else.

The album hails back to back hits with features from hip-hop heavyweights like 2 Chainz and Schoolboy Q on the absolute banger “X.”

The caliber of the featured artists shows in their lyricism. On “X,” Schoolboy Q’s presents himself with the very cocky line, “not even Kendrick can humble me.”

House music reminiscent “Opps” allows Johannesburg’s relatively unknown rapper Yugen Blakrok to shine. Blakrok, who’s alternative flow sounds similar to that of Azealia Banks, is mind-blowing throughout the song, but most specifically she standouts in her line, “spit slick, attack is subliminal. Flowers on my mind, but the rhyme style sinister. Stand behind my own bars, like a seasoned criminal. Gotham City Streets, I’ll play the *****. Crushing any system that belittles us.”  This one line shows her lyricism and proves that she is equal to the other big names on the project.

The incredibly black “Paramedic!” is an echo to the supreme black excellence that is bound to be portrayed in the movie. The song’s standout line, “They ain’t wanna see me win ’cause I’m black. So I pulled up in that all black Benz in the back,” just reaffirms the blackness of Sacramento’s SOB X RBE.

“Bloody Waters” is a refreshingly slow down album break that highlights Ab-Soul and Anderson Paak’s smooth soothing voices.

Of course, the entire album isn’t perfect.

The more mainstream artists just didn’t bring it as hard as the lesser known artist. Most of their tracks just don’t have the same it factor as the others. You can skip SZA and Lamar’s “All The Stars” and not feel any guilt because it is an extremely skippable song.

Both of Lamar’s last two tracks, “Big Shot” with Travis Scott and “Pray For Me” featuring The Weeknd fail to astonish the listener in the same way that he does on earlier tracks.

This is not saying that both songs are bad. “Big Shot” is a perfectly acceptable club banger radio bound hit, but it just doesn’t match the tone of the album nor does it correlate with the narrative of T’Challa’s struggle in “Black Panther.”



Kendrick and his colleagues are explosive on this project. The album helps present the conflict that T’Challa will face in “Black Panther.” With hip-hop, R&B, and Africana electro-pop vibes throughout there is a song for everyone. This album does not disappoint and hopefully, neither does the movie.

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