Black Panther the Album Embodies Wakanda

Marlem Reyes, Reporter

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“Black Panther the Album: Music From and Inspired By” in its third week out, sits unmoved from the No. 1 spot from the Billboard Album chart. Eight of the album’s songs are in the Billboard Top 100.

The album features artists SZA, the Weeknd, Schoolboy Q and 2 Chainz, Khalid, Future and Travis Scott. The album has 120 million streams and was masterminded by Kendrick Lamar.  

It’s easy to understand why Lamar would be attracted to composing The Black Panther (Original Score). The themes of the Black Panther movie are similar to what Kendrick preaches.

Kendrick’s albums, like DAMN!, feature the California poor urban life, family complexities, identity crisis, and African American life. Given that the movie storyline also includes early 1990s inner-city California, heroism, family, afrocentric historical awareness, loyalty, and kingship it’s no wonder Lamar took up the task.

While the soundtrack is credited to Ludwig Goransson, Lamar is pretty much running the show. He is in nearly every soundtrack, either as a composer or singer. Which is probably why it’s rated as an explicit album.

The soundtrack is diverse, daring, and pairs perfectly with Marvel’s movie. The songs are mostly from the protagonist’s perspective, T’Challa, such as “Black Panther” sung by Lamar himself and some songs such as “Paramedic!” from the villain’s perspective, Killmonger. In a special duo, artists Mozzy and Reason sang from both T’Challa and Killmonger’s perspective in the song “Seasons”.

The song “Paramedic!” portrays a man from the ghettos of California and speaks of great hardship, paralleling the character in the movie, Killmonger. Lamar often incorporates his Compton origins in his songs, so it’s no surprise he had a hand in composing the song.

Each song serves as a narrative to the movie, but most tracks sidestep traditional American pop music with one exception. The biggest hit among Americans seems to be “All the Stars” sang by SZA.

At its best, The Black Panther album channels the innermost spirit of the fictional nation of Wakanda, and its relevance to the movie which some soundtracks fail to do. The album is innovating: songs include robotic whines, African drums, American style rap, R&B, and even African house music rhythms including African gqom.

All in all “Black Panther the Album: Music From and Inspired By” is a fantastic album to listen in the car, shower, even while working out. The tracks include music that pump energy and some that are much more mellow. It’s definitely worth a listen.

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Black Panther the Album Embodies Wakanda