Review: Black Panther the Album
As Black Panther smashes box-office records, grossing more than $700 million worldwide, the film’s soundtrack has become a hit too, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Black Panther the Album, containing music from and inspired by the movie, was curated by no other than Compton rapper, songwriter, and Black Lives Matter Activist, Kendrick Lamar. On his most recent albums, To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN., Lamar discusses the trials and tribulations that Black people have faced; however, he surprises us with something unlike his previous work on Black Panther the Album.
Rather than being another anthem for people of color, Black Panther the Album is the blueprint for the film. The main plot of the film is centered around the return of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who returns to his homeland of Wakanda to claim the throne as king, following the death of this father T’Chaka. T’Challa faces constant struggles with the primary antagonist Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who threatens to bring down the kingdom.
The 49-minute runtime takes us through each scene of the movie. Opening with the song “Black Panther,” Kendrick Lamar speaks from the perspective of T’Challa. : “King of my city, king of my country, king of my homeland/ King of the filthy, king of the fallen.”
In the same song, he challenges Killmonger: “Your native tongue contradictin' what your body language say/ Are you a king or you jokin'? Are you a king or you posin'?/ Are you a king or you smokin' bud rocks to keep you open?”
The album is composed of the two perspectives of T’Challa and Killmonger, which provides deeper insight into what it means to be a king.
Be sure to listen to the album below.