November 13, 2019
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Story tips, concerns, questions?

By Francisco Padilla
Staff Writer

The latest contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Panther,” has already received rave in advance reviews and is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.

However, as excited as fans are for the movie, the film’s soundtrack “Black Panther: The Album” is just as anticipated. But not just for the music.

For instance, Rolling Stone published an article Feb. 12 that stated:

“The lyrics thrust listeners into comic book politics and palace intrigues; they also point, unmistakably, to age-old African diasporic dreams and 21st Century politics.”

You can credit Kendrick Lamar and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, who paired with Marvel to executive produce the soundtrack, for that.

The soundtrack, released Feb. 9, includes a star-studded roster. Alongside Lamar, who contributes to every song, the album features Los Angeles area natives and TDE label mates, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Mississippi native, SZA. The album also has guest features from several of today’s top hip-hop artists, including Swae Lee, Travis Scott, Khalid and The Weeknd, and even northern California’s rap group SOB x RBE.

But Kendrick didn’t stop there in finding the perfect sound for this album.

He went across the Atlantic to get the captivating voice of British artist Jorja Smith. He stayed on that side of the globe to get the voices of Babes Wodumo, Saudi, Yugen Blakrok and Sjava, all whom are South African artists.

With the diverse variety of sounds in the album, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The albums leadScreen Shot 2018-02-22 at 9.21.31 AM single “All The Stars” features two of today’s most dominant artists in the music industry. SZA’s entrancing voice hooks the listener by the second line of the catchy up-tempo chorus only for it to lead to a verse by Lamar where he speaks on the issue of the social consequences of being famous.

Songs like, “King’s Dead,” “X,” “Paramedic!” “Opps,” and “Big Shot,” all touch on the gritty, hardcore sound hip-hop fans love to hear. The music is loud, the lyrics are fierce, the bass is bumping and they set the tone for that “I can play this in my car, I can play this while working out” attitude.

However, there is more to the album that just hard lyrics and tough sounds.

Lamar has never been an artist afraid to approach topics in his music that most artists wouldn’t dare, and this is no exception.

On “Pray For Me,” he raps, “Life a living hell, puddles of blood in the streets, shooters on top of the building, government aid ain’t relief.” Here he is criticizing the current government aid system in America with discontentment in his voice.

On the Intro of the album he raps, “Sisters and brother in unison, not because of me, because we don’t glue with the opposition, we glue with peace.” Here he touches on the issue of people and citizens getting together not because of one person, or hatred for someone, but because of a common issue.

“Black Panther: The Album” may be a soundtrack to a Marvel film, but it is also a stand-alone album that touches on many social, economic, racial and compelling human issues in the world today.

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