Without a doubt, Kendrick Lamar is among the forerunners of the music industry right now; recently acquiring seven Grammy Awards off his 2017 album… Damn. With the announcement that Lamar would be curating an album based on Marvel‘s Black Panther, the hype train filled with fans of both hip-hop music and superhero cinephiles.
The soundtrack features a mix of strong and well known artists such as The Weeknd, SZA, Travis Scott, and Khalid, with unknown artists such as Jorja Smith, Mozzy, and SOB X RBE featuring as well. Kendrick still finds ways to implement his voice even on tracks he isn’t featured on… reminding listeners that he is the steward of the album.
There are a number of songs throughout the project that resurrect the style of Damn. The first track, “Black Panther,” features fast lyrics (from Kendrick himself) over a soft piano; which then speeds up with a gritty, packed instrumentation that compliments that old school “hardness.”
A few of the tracks can be placed in categories of their own such as the Khalid and Swae Lee (member of hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd) pop song titled “The Ways.” The two young singers compliment each other and their voices fit together beautifully. Kendrick sprinkles some backup vocals that provide the icing on the cake.
Another notable track from the project “I Am” is by up and coming artist… Jorja Smith. Smith walked into the spotlight in 2017 when she was featured in two songs off Drake’s album, More Life. Her song features her soothing R&B voice over a laid back, “chill” beat. The future is looking bright for the 20 year old from the United Kingdom.
It seems the two most famous tracks (already been receiving plays on radio markets) are… “Pray For Me” – The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar and “All The Stars,” – SZA and Kendrick Lamar. Both songs fit the description of the mainstream pop music; hence why they were both released earlier than the rest of the soundtrack. In particular, “Pray For Me” features The Weeknd on the chorus with the support of of Kendrick’s rhymes in the verses. These two tracks perfectly fit thematically with the movie and rest of the of soundtrack.
Kendrick Lamar does not disappoint; but from his track record, it’s not really a surprise. The album is full of well-blended beats, rhymes, styles, and featured artists. Though it is a soundtrack for the PG-13 rated movie, the album still comes with the vulgar language—parents beware!
I believe there could not have been a better man suited for the job.
Mason’s Favorite: “The Ways” – Khalid & Swae Lee
Mason’s Sleeper: “Seasons” – Mozzy (With Sjava & Reason)
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