Kendrick Lamar is having quite the 2018 so far. His album DAMN dominated the grammys and now he was chosen to executive produce and oversee the soundtrack for possibly the biggest Marvel/Disney movie in this era. Kendrick was the best choice. If you look back on his album How to Pimp a Butterfly, He knows how to speak on issues without looking too angry. He knows how to preach Black Empowerment while luring white audiences and making them feel his experiences instead of boycotting it. Plus He also has the Aftermath machine behind him for clout purposes so this was the perfect combination on paper.
Starting with the album’s first track Black Panther. This is Kendrick at his best. He describes the lead character’s T Chilla and his alter ego. Giving the perfect introduction to not only the album but also the direction of the character itself:
King of my city, king of my country, king of my homeland
King of the filthy, king of the fallen, we livin’ again
King of the shooters, looters, boosters, and ghettos poppin’
King of the past, present, future, my ancestors watchin’
King of the culture, king of the soldiers, king of the bloodshed
King of the wisdom, king of the ocean, king of the respect
King of the optimistics and dreamers that go and get it
King of the winner’s district and geniuses with conviction
King of the fighters, king of the fathers, king of the belated
King of the answer, king of the problem, king of the forsaken
King of the empathy, you resent me, king of remorse
King of my enemies, may they father feed, I rejoice
Then we’re followed off with the musically rich and textual All the Stars Above first single featuring SZA whom provides the addictive chouse and extra verse on this version. Critics chirped of the auto tuning and the choice of production because it came across as too soft. But for this type of movie, Its perfect for a Disney superhero movie. Plus the video brought the song home as a smash it.
Schoolboy Q and 2 Chainz collab together on X which possibly could be a reference to the poster and Black Panther’s signal. The song also features South African emcee Saudi which also plays well to the concept of the movie as we’re getting a combination of African emcees(Which possibly could be representative for Wakanda) and in this case the villain Killmonger. Kendrick seemingly to be TChilla on the soundtrack whereas SchoolBoy Q on this song speaks on the opposite of what he represents(which was stacking chips, hitting the club) .
Kendrick Lamar proves that he’s still the star of the album with performances off Big Shot, King is Dead, and Pray for Me but everybody else on TDE do a great job at playing their position. Jay Rock’s verse off King is Dead is possibly one of the best this year and we can only hope that a future project is on the horizon.
Production wise it parallels perfectly with the movie and the content is a great mixture of speaking from the prospective of the characters and what they really represent. Overall this was a great project to match what is a great movie. Definitely worth copping!
Vic Rating: 10 out of 10