Black Panther may well be a movie worth seeing and it’s certainly getting rave reviews. But maybe the major star of the movie is the soundtrack itself, curated, assembled, performed and sold by the biggest innovative artist of the moment, Kendrick Lamar.
And when you’ve got that much influence to invite big music-biz names to your party then you might as well, particularly when they’re the likes of The Weeknd, Vince Staples, Anderson .Paak, James Blake – alongside relative unknown artists Mozzy, Babes Wodumo, SOB x RBE and South African vocalist Sjava singing in Zulu.
All these artists add a creative flair to a heady album of hip-hop, R&B and soul so immaculately crafted, cohesive and so very, very cool. At its best, the soundtrack smoothly flows along through groggy beats, samples and slow instrumentation filled with vocal fragments and the mystery and allure of a new Marvel Superhero.
In the midst of it all, Lamar goes on his demented rap-style rants, with the nihilistic tendencies found in his other major releases, bringing a visceral energy and rollercoaster of thrills.
How the soundtrack works in the context of the film is an interesting question, but it hangs together nicely as a long player showcasing musical variances that can apply to rap, disco and soul – and it furthers the notion Lamar is a musical genius with no equal.