Kendrick Lamar released the “Black Panther” album that goes along with the Marvel movie of the same name. With Kendrick following his influential Grammy performance, his triumph album “Damn” and the important message the movie offers, the anticipation for this album was high, catching the attention of rap and comic book fans.
With campaigns pushing to diversify cinema and Hollywood, the “Black Panther” release date is exceptional. The film is proudly political and follows the anti-establishment stance that makes Kendrick Lamar the best man for the job. It is not a surprise this album is a work of art but also has current social issues addressed within it. Kendrick collaborates with many other great, big-name musicians such as ScHoolboy Q, SZA, Travis Scott and many more.
Kendrick’s job became bringing rap to Wakanda. The women of Wakanda are shaped into powerful characters. Women are warriors, henchmen and scientists. SZA’s, “All the Stars,” created and performed with Kendrick Lamar, and Jorja Smith’s “I Am” offer a powerful message of empowerment from within. The songs create a narrative for the women in the story and leave the audience wanting more. As for Kendrick himself, he starts off the album powerfully by introducing the “King” in the opening song “Black Panther,” which also provides the context of the story. The album concludes with Kendrick’s “Pray For Me,” performed with The Weeknd. The song may offer a hint that a sequel is on the horizon, but that’s just my guess. Kendrick is cited on only a few of the tracks on the album, but will hop in with a few verses or hooks on virtually every song. From impactful rap to soulful R&B, the album offers something for everyone.
It is going to be very exciting to see how the album fits in with the movie. With the movie coming out a week later than the album, the advantage of the early release of the album allows anticipation to grow even greater. Overall, Kendrick captures the message that the film portrays perfectly. Whether it is the importance of women’s voices to the story or the discussion of identity within media, Kendrick does it all. I hope this album and film push for more diversification within Hollywood and entertainment.
This article first appeared in the Friday, February 23, 2018, Edition of The Echo.