The Black Panther: Album Review
I highly anticipated writing this review after I heard that there was an album or original soundtrack coming out based off one of this year's biggest blockbusters executively produced by Kendrick Lamar.
Lamar is at such a level now that expecting him not to produce anything but quality work would be disrespectful, so I was expecting nothing short of it. I've listened to it at least two times a day now and I can tell you that this is more of a well-crafted concept album than a movie soundtrack. Movie soundtracks are typically just something that just happens to accompany a film that's released: This album is going to be in rotation for at least the next months.
What really makes this album so good is how cohesive it is with the movie. From the instrumentals to the theme of the lyrics, there is no doubt that this is Wakanda.
From the intro title track, I heard the tribal drums within the first few seconds and I zoned in. Once the soft, off-kilter piano keys came in, Lamar comes in and created an entrance song for the Wakanda's King, T'Challa, himself.
An even more interesting entrance was made for the movie's antihero on the song "Paramedic" as K-Dot connected with SOB x RBE to make an aggressive banger fitting for Killmonger's demeanor and San Francisco Bay area origins.
While the album's lead single "All The Stars" holds its ground on the album and radio play, the real standouts are scattered throughout, such as the Future and Jay Rock cut "King's Dead," or even the hypnotic tour-de-force "X" with standout verses from South African rapper Saudi, 2 Chainz and ScHoolBoy Q.
The balance in this music as a body of work is what sets this album apart from most. Also, what's really remarkable is the amount of African musical influences and artists all over the album. You can hear it deeply mold this soundtrack's theme deep on cuts like the Afrobeat-infused Zacari track "Redemption."
Needless to say, this isn't an album I'd recommend skipping past. This is a well-executed soundtrack from front to back, arguably the best soundtrack since the 2016 release of "Suicide Squad" and I say this with all confidence.
This is going to be looked upon as one of this year's best releases.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Standout Tracks: X, King's Dead, Black Panther, I Am
By Kalen Murphy