Words: Giulia Lombardo
For all Marvel fans, the Black Panther movie was the symbol of revolution: the first and only black superhero, in fact, was portrayed in an intensely powerful way in the film, and that feeling of strength was reached especially thanks to the beautiful and striking Grammy award-winning soundtrack.
Created by Kendrick Lamar, Top Dawg Entertainment label CEO Anthony Tiffith, and resident TDE producer Sounwave, ‘Black Panther: The Album’ feels incredible. For as many genres and artists on display, what really catches the attention is Lamar’s voice and extremely powerful aura. For instance, the song ‘King’s Dead’, that contains powerful lyrics like ‘Not your baby, not your equal/Not the title y’all want me under’, is the key to what I mean when I say that the movie is surrounded by this strong, mighty feel.
Most of it is because Lamar, together with whom has worked on the album, was driven by the potency of director Ryan Coogler’s vision. The movie was intended to be trampled by this insanely impactful influence, that Lamar and the other artists on the ‘Black Panther: The Album’ record have; and when I say insanely impactful influence, I mean it. In fact, the star-studded record features other big names like The Weeknd, SZA, Future, Khalid, Travis Scott, Vince Staples, James Blake, Swae Lee, Jorja Smith, 2 Chainz, and Anderson .Paak. Just saying.
While the soundtrack itself weaves in some beautiful gems like “All the Stars” with SZA to the undisputed hit ‘Pray For Me’ by The Weeknd, that are just so sharp and intensely powerful, that are some other tracks that have some other intents. This is because the album’s actual strategy is to hint at the movie’s story while, in reality, the actual concept is telling tales of struggle much closer to home, highlighting the issues and injustices faced by the African-American community.
In fact, the purpose of the soundtrack overall, combined with the insanely good visuals in the movie, is to convey a very important message, especially for the Afro-American community. The album opens with the incredible ‘Black Panther’, finds Lamar in the shoes of his alter ego, T’Challa, king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The kind of lyrics we can hear in the track – like ‘what do you stand for?/Are you an activist? What are your city plans for?’, ‘king of my city, king of my country, king of my homeland’ – set the tone for the whole album, and underline the importance of the soundtrack in the movie.
‘The lens that I’m looking through
Won’t prescribe me the right glasses, masses are now free
Ashes I’m dumping out, ’bout to spread all ‘cross seas
Sisters and brother in unison, not because of me
Because we don’t glue with the opposition, we glue with peace’.
A message of strength, beauty, grace, and power, that will live forever.