“Black Panther” soundtrack is a roaring success

“Black Panther” has been the talk of the town since it’s release, but the soundtrack has been making waves for a while. It’s easy to see why “Black Panther” would appeal to Kendrick Lamar; it has all the themes that any Lamar song would: living in inner-city California, heroism and complex family dynamics, amongst others. It’s exactly why director Ryan Coogler wanted to work with him. What he got was pretty much a full-length Lamar album.

Most of the music isn’t in the movie, but the 14 tracks have been inspired by the movie, and the soundtrack is one of the best ways to relive the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The soundtrack was anticipated almost as much as the actual movie was, and has seen amazing success. It currently sits at number one on the Billboard 200, and there are eight songs on the Billboard Hot 100. It is currently the best-selling soundtrack since “Suicide Squad.”

The soundtrack has been carefully curated and fine-tuned, and it knows exactly who its audience is. It perfectly reflects the innovative and self-sustaining ethos that Wakanda exhibits, and that Lamar exhibits. It obviously doesn’t exhibit the same urgency and boldness that Lamar’s solo work does, but it comes pretty darn close.

The soundtrack also gives Anthony Tiffith, the owner of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), and Lamar (TDE’s biggest star, admittedly) to show how far their reach extends by collaborating with some of today’s biggest stars like The Weeknd, Future, SZA, Anderson .Paak and Travis Scott, just to name a few. The collaborations are what make this record, but unfortunately, are also what brings it down.

“Opps” with Yugen Blakrok and Vince Staples and “King’s Dead” which features Future, Jay Rock and James Blake are two of the most explosive collaborations. The rest of the collaborations are impressive, but aren’t very memorable.

The record starts off with a few Lamar-centric songs, but “The Ways” featuring Khalid and Rae Sreemurd’s Swae Lee is so slow, it feels comatose. “All the Stars” which features SZA is still underwhelming, despite the verse change, and Travis Scott’s verse in “Big Shot” is forgettable. The biggest disappointment for me is “Pray For Me,” the last song on the record that features The Weeknd. You’d think that these two powerhouses would come up with an equally powerful track that’d close out the soundtrack with a bang. However, it just sounds like a reused, leftover track for “Starboy.” But, the album had to have some by-the-label hits.

In the end, “Black Panther: The Album” is what it is because of Lamar, and who better than Lamar to helm a soundtrack for one of Marvel’s best creations.


Album: “Black Panther: The Album (Music From and Inspired By)”

Artist: Kendrick Lamar, Various Artists

Release Date: Feb. 9

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars