‘Black Panther: The Album’ lives up to the hype

Black+Panther

Black Panther

Simon Hannig

The highly-anticipated movie album “Black Panther: The Album” finally released, and it does not disappoint.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar produced the hip-hop album with Top Dawg Entertainment’s CEO Anthony Tiffith. It features artists SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Vince Staples, Khalid, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, The Weeknd and many other artists.

Film composer Ludwig Goransson chose Lamar because the themes of his music – blackness in identity, power dynamics, self-doubt and the onus of kingship – match with the message of the movie, according to Pitchfork.

The album proves why Kendrick Lamar is still the number one rapper in the game, and no one can touch him. He brings a star-studded cast of artists and just about each and every one one of the songs is a hit.

Here is my song-by-song analysis:

1. Kendrick Lamar — “Black Panther”

Good introduction to the album. The song opens up to a nice piano background. What makes this song amazing is the beat switch. You’ll know what I mean when you listen to it.

2. Kendrick Lamar, SZA — “All The Stars”

Oh, I am starting to really love SZA. This song is already a hit, peaking third on the Hot R&B Songs Billboard chart. The flow between Kendrick and SZA is great. Sometimes you get choppiness between artists on flows when they transition from one another, but not here.

3. ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Saudi — “X”

The song is incredible, from the lyrics to the beat. The beat gets you pumped up. 2 Chainz is great — don’t get me wrong — but his verse on this song was a disappointment for me. The beat is similar to the first song “Black Panther.” I can already tell this song is going to be another top hit on the album.

4. Khalid, Swae Lee — “The Ways”

Classic Khalid. He hits this song out of the park. The song feels very similar from his songs from “American Teen.”

5. Vince Staples, Yugen Blakrok — “Opps”

This song has a disco feel to it. I love the drums in this song, which seems to be a constant theme throughout the album.

6. Jorja Smith — “I Am”

This is the first time I heard of Jorja Smith. It’s calm and relaxing — a nice break from the beat change-ups.

7. SOB X RBE — “Paramedic!”

I have never heard SOB X RBE until this song, but this song is good. Kendrick makes a surprise appearance as the hook in this song, which is a nice touch.

8. Ab-Soul, Anderson .Paak, James Blake — “Bloody Waters”

This song has a very calm feeling to it in the beginning.

9. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, James Blake — “King’s Dead”

All I can say is “Wow!” This is my favorite song of the album. I never really listened to Jay Rock before until now, but wow he killed it. King Kendrick killed it. The beat is amazing. I think this song has a very good chance being the top song from the album. 

10. Zacari — “Redemption Interlude”

Not one of my favorites, and I’ll leave it at that.

11. Zacari, Babes Wodumo — “Redemption”

Another relaxing song on the album. I am not really sure who is singing in the song, but whoever it is, they are very good.

12. Mozzy, Jabulani Hadebe, Reason — “Seasons”

Okay, I have never heard any of these artists before. I love the beat to the song.

13. Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott — “Big Shot”

I love this song. Kendrick kills it again. Travis Scott also kills it. The lyrics are very catchy, and the beat is hoppin’ as well.

14. Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd — “Pray For Me”

I actually liked this song. It is a catchy song that is already doing well on the radio.

Overall, this album is living up to the hype. With the movie set to release this week, I feel like both the album and the movie will do big numbers. It now seems like anything Kendrick Lamar does, it usually does big numbers.

You should listen to this album, even if you’re not planning to see the movie. A lot of the songs on here will be on the radio soon, if they are not already so.

My top four songs: “All The Stars,” “X,” “King’s Dead,” “Big Shot” and “Pray For Me.”

Simon Hannig is a copy editor. Contact him at [email protected]