Rapper Kendrick Lamar has proven to be one of the best artists today, with acclaimed albums such as “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “Damn.” Now, as producer of the highly anticipated “Black Panther” soundtrack, he has created something special.
In each of the 14 songs in the album, he is involved in some way; either as lead singer, chorus member or featured with someone.
The “Black Panther” soundtrack was released a week prior to the release of the Marvel film. The moment it was announced that Lamar was going to produce and star in the album, there was anticipation and hype surrounding it. The fact that Lamar was going to work on a soundtrack for the Marvel Cinematic Universe was something different, which made a lot of people intrigued, including myself.
I listened to it the Friday it was released, and after listening to it, I knew right away that I had just listened to one of the best albums of 2018.
It’s only February, but I can guarantee that this will be on my best albums of 2018 list. Every song on the album is incredibly catchy, meaningful and has immense replay value. Each song transitions smoothly into the next one while telling its own separate story. The fact that various artists worked on this album was beneficial because it almost guaranteed that every song has its own unique, authentic rhythm.
The album starts off with the song “Black Panther” by Lamar, which is approximately two minutes and forty seconds long. Despite that run time, it is a strong opener to the album, not only because of the catchiness of the song, but because of the meanings it conveys. The song goes hand in hand with the Black Panther character as it talks about the burden of leading people and draws parallels with the film. A lot of these songs leave a bigger impact after one has seen the film; it adds more layers and meaning to the songs.
Some of the other artists in the album are SZA, 2 Chainz, Khalid, Vince Staples, Jorja Smith, Future, Zacari, Travis Scott and The Weeknd. Many of these artists deliver songs that tackle themes explored in the film such as legacy, responsibility and culture. According to a recent review on Pitchfork.com, the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, has always wanted to collaborate with Lamar. I am glad his wish came true because these two artists are dynamic.
Currently, this album debuted #1 on The Top Billboard 200, and rightfully so. The entire album is great and there is not a single best track. Some of the standouts on the album are “All the Stars,” “Opps,” “I Am,” “Pray for Me” and “Redemption.” My personal favorite is “Paramedic!,” which consists of Lamar and Zacari singing in the intro and SOB x RBE rapping for the rest of the song. This is a truly fantastic album, and I would highly recommend it to those who have not listened to it yet.