by Tim Gordon
Ryan Coogler’s film will not be the only thing surging to the top of the charts this weekend, the recently-released soundtrack, Black Panther: The Album anchored by multi-Grammy award-winning artist Kendrick Lamar is poised to make major noise.
Coogler, who always wanted to work with Kendrick on a project, essentially got a full-length Kendrick Lamar album out of it. Kendrick and Top Dawg CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith curated and produced the album with in-house producer Sounwave, and they sat down with the film’s composer Ludwig Göransson to work some songs into the score. Coogler selected Lamar because of the themes in his music—foremost on that list: blackness as an identity, spirituality, power dynamics, self-doubt, and the onus of kingship—align with those in the film. Some of the music is from the movie, some is merely inspired by it, so don’t expect to see Wakandan tribal dances performed to 2 Chainz one-liners. But despite all its moving parts, and its by-the-numbers singles, Black Panther The Album is finely-tuned, aware of its audience, its objectives, and the stakes.
Lamar released the first single for the album, “All the Stars”, in January 2018, in which he collaborated with fellow Top Dawg artist SZA. The second song by Lamar with Jay Rock, Future and James Blake called “King’s Dead” was released later in the month. On February 2, 2018, “Pray for Me” by Lamar and The Weeknd was released as the album’s third single. Black Panther: The Album was released on February 9, 2018.
Listen to the album, below: