The Black Panther Album
Kendrick Lamar & The Rest of TDE took over production for the new Panther film. With ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, SZA, Jay Rock & Kendrick Lamar just what is it that we'll hear? Features from Vince Staples, Ciara's Ex, SOB, Jorja Smith & many more. Lets give it a listen. This is a review of the Black Panther Soundtrack Album. I'm not looking for the Album to make any kind of cohesive statement as an Album unit but rather maintain the theme and the progression of the story line in the movie. I'll take of each track on it's own but not collectively.
Kendrick doesn't just tackle an activist or a person sparking a revolution is supposed to be. He manages to convey that we are a movement that's about piece but we are not pushovers. Then the insensity levels that change up in between is like Kendrick walking into the office of the Black Panthers and they tell you what we're angry about as well as what we are about to do it.
All the Stars
All the Stars is the overall theme of the movie. Kendrick Lamar has taking over the role of the star in the soundtrack Marvel studios, Black Panther is amazing from it's cast to its director. Kendrick states, "The magnitude of the film show a great marriage of art and culture and truly honored to contribute my knowledge in sound and writing along side Ryan and Marvel's vision."
All of people didn't know this but some may have noticed that the All The Stars song was actually changed and lyrics switched up after release. While the music video dropped just a few days ago the actual song has been out for while. However, when the video was put out fans noticed that the ending was a bit different. The song was updated on February 2nd on Apple Music with lyric changes and SZAs verse. You can here the original lyrics online and you can still download the original on spotify and everywhere else. It's possible that Marvel either thought the song revealed something about the movie that they didn't want to since the song was released so far in advance of the movie or the lyrical content didn't relate to the movie as well as they would have liked it to.
The very first few line sof the song which is labeled as Kendricks Pre-Chorus. In this verse he writes...
Love, let's talk about love
Is it anything and everything you hoped for?
Or do the feeling haunt you?
I know the feeling haunt you
"Love" does that word ring a bell. If so, you're not tripp'n. Kendrick is in fact referring to another album of his in a Pre-Chorus of Kendricks 2017 song where he raps about the struggle of relationships and shares how he will always be there for his love but questions will his love always be there for him.
Something to catch in SZAs lyrics coming up right after Kendrick's opening verse SZA sings...
this might be the night
that my dreams might
let know All the stars are close,
all the stars are closer,
all the stars are closer.
SZA's lyrics invokes reaching for the stars to achieve your dreams and chase success but her lyrics also possess thematic connections to The Black Panther comic book Lore. Stars are often symbolic of the pasts spirits or spiritual beings watching over us. The Black Panther can communicate with all previous Black Panther spirits to touch on their knowledge and expertise... Wonder if that's where Avatar got that idea from. Just saying. Only the current Black Panther can do this bringing him close to his ancestors and their wisdom. As part of him gaining the role of the Black Panther T'Challa, The Black Panther's real identity is required to meet Bast the Panther God. During T'Challa quest Bast appears to T'Challa in his dreams, thus the words "All the Stars are Closer".
Featuring Schoolboy Q, 2 Chains, and Saudi. Definitely a "Bumps in the Trunk" kind of beat. Each artist has a memorable verse. One of my favorite verses is when Q says "not even Kendrick can keep me humble"taking a shot at Kendricks hit track on his last album. Genuine Hip Hop. Nobody's safe, not event "The Star" of the Album.
Featuring Khalid and Sway Lee. The song is a little change up with a tropical kind of mediterranean vibe to it. I like how Khalid has a more suppressed mode to his delivery allowing Sway Lee to compliment his performance with the similar but more vibrant syncopation. But when Kendrick comes in with the same type of performance style the song starts to wain in maintaining your interest. I guess it would make a good song to sunbathe to off the coast somewhere on your 50 ft yacht.
Featuring Vince Staples. Fast paced track with slap your in your face lyrics. A couple that stood out for me was "Coons turn to Butterflys". Meaning that some think that they are going to turn into something beautiful and fly high cooning their whole lives. Another one is "Flowers on my mind but my rhymes start sinister." The track comes across like a run and chase type of track with a definite African vibe to it. Definitely a speaker knocker. The track is okay and the lyrics are hot but probably one I'd skip over.
Featuring Jorja Smith. Has to be one of my favorite tracks. Definitely one to ponder while on the road late at night while your trying to balance the weight of the world on your shoulders. The track definitely represents the plight of Black people. It references the sacrafice that was necessary in order for change to be possible. You see me but you don't see the struggle or the conversation you see the skin color and that's when you cut off your empathy. Then Kendrick says at the end "I do what you want to stop" which is saying I'm still going to keep moving forward and progressing regardless of whether or not you want to see progression.
Featuring SOB X BRE. Sounds like a track for the masses with Anthem consistency. The track runs out the gate energy like what you would want to hear when you walked into a club or onto the dance floor. It definitely gets your head bob'n and if you're a dancer your feet moving. Reminds me a lot of the hyphy movement. Hyped lyrics that just keep you going. Hardest line in the song, maybe the album, maybe the year... "New baby chop, let it sing, it's a Drake nigga."
Ab Soul featuring Anderson. With lyrics like "He tried to Channel the Balance but never found the remote" and "Common politics, everlastin' mayhem, Draw to stick you for' your figures, that's how they hang man" may make you consiider that Ab Soul is the most slept on lyricist in 2018. Bloody Waters is definitely one of the more lyrically entertaining tracks on the album.
Featuring J Rock, Future and James Blake
Definitely a Banger for the Trunk. The beat gives way to a sinister type beat with a variety of deliver style by all artist. However, Future's performance actually takes away from the track significantly.
This track definitely has a soothing melodic style to it. If you just chilling with your girl about to get into something this might be the track that you might want to play. The track has a awkward music change towards the end though so you might want to make it quick as the last part of the track may knock her out of the mood.
Featuring Zacari and Baber Wodumo
This track has a Afro-Carribean Neo Soul Dance type vibe to it. Some of the lyrics are in the Zulu language. kikiritikiki means “cypress” or any of several evergreen coniferous trees constituting the genus. The African Cypress is native to South Africa. The song makes for a nice dance track to get your body moving. Lyrically the song doesn't tells of a desire that might feel forbidden. Could be a peek into the movie.
Featured by Mozzy. Sjava and Reason. This is a very soulful but yet somber track. The simple subdued piano performance accents the track beautifully giving the track a soothing melody. Overal it's an African influenced track that remain authentic throughout. Overall I like the track as it starts to take us through the story the seasons including poverty, jealously, negativity.
I didn't care for this song much. I started out in an interesting manner but once the song started it wasn't the best performance we've heard on the album. The song is definitely "emotional" but nothing memorable overall. This would most likely be a song I would skip on the Album. Not horrible but not spectacular either.
Pray for Me
Featuring The Weeknd. This track is definitely a banger for the car and the night club. It carries a nice grove to it that closed in and subdued allowing the Weeknd vocals to shine over the top.
I think this album manages to carry these three topics very well. I like Kendricks Lamar overall so I don't mind hearing him on almost every track. Since he doesn't try to outshine the other artist on every track it creates a balanced collaboration while still allowing him to maintain the feature placement on the album. Overall the album delivers on these three things, The plight of black folks, the movie, and entertainment value. They have enough content to keep you entertained while referencing the movie. As a soundtrack it fits well.
Written By Roger L. Hooks, Jr
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