Hail the King.
Written by Mark Glotzbach, Follow his blog @markglotzbach
Black Panther debuted this weekend as the first MCU superhero movie with a nearly all black cast, and along with it came the soundtrack which debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 154,000 copies in it’s first week.
The soundtrack was curated by hip hop legend Kendrick Lamar and features contributions from many of his fellow artists at Top Dawg Entertainment, so it’s no wonder the album is seeing such a quick rise to the top of the charts considering Lamar’s DAMN topped the charts and won several awards.
Although only three of the songs actually appear in the film, it all fits very well together and definitely reflects the tone of the film. It goes hard and pulls no punches.
The album has 14 tracks, featuring artists like 2chainz, Future, The Weeknd, SZA and several others, ranging from the topic of oppression to that of love and everything in between.
The album’s title track “Black Panther” opens with African drums, then cuts to Lamar rapping over a somber piano melody then builds in intensity as the drums return. It repeats this pattern a couple times and begins to bleed into the next track as Lamar says, “I am T’challa.”
The 7th track on the album, “Paramedic!” By SOB X RBE(Strictly Only Brothers, Real Boy Entertainment) begins with the line “I am Killmonger…This is my home…Northern California.” The track really captures the attitude that the Black Panther villain, Killmonger, displays throughout the film, especially with the line “I put my fist in the air, I ain’t gonna put my hands up.”
Overall the album is full of heavy drum and bass with a touch of R&B, it is a nice interpretation of the Black Panther film’s tone and message of black power and unity both in story and in the execution of the film.
In my opinion, most movie soundtracks are full of sloppy, quickly thrown together tunes by whoever happens to be in the top 40 of the year in which the film was produced, but Lamar’s soundtrack works really well as an album, staying true to the film and including lyrics references to it throughout all the tracks but also provides genuinely great music from beginning to end that stands well on its own.
You can find the album on iTunes, in stores and on Spotify.