Although it’s much bigger, the panther, like a cat, always lands on its feet. The black panther is no different and so begins the roll out for Marvel’s next big project with the early release of the Black Panther album, curated by none other then T.D.E. One of the most influential, provocative and critically acclaimed hip hop labels.
Chadwick Boseman in Marvel's "Black Panther."
Masterminded by the visionary and multiple Grammy-award-winning artist Kendrick Lamar, the album boasts features from prestigious mainstream acts such as Anderson.Paak, SZA, Zacari, the Weeknd, Vince Staples, Swae Lee, Travis Scott, Future, 2 Chains, the El Paso raised kid Khalid and fellow rap elite Black Hippie members Ab-soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q as well as performances from James Blake and Jorja Smith.
Considering the amount of ethnically diverse talent driving the piece forward, it’s easy to predict that this film is gonna be a much different entry from any other superhero stories even blade.
Something big is said when a potentially billion-dollar-making franchise has chosen to go with a soundtrack aggressively drenched in conscious hip hop.
The album itself conceptually follows the struggles of the black panther or king Kendrick losing his way and becoming a slave to killmonger.
After touching base with his African roots both sonically and lyrically, he is able to be redeemed and the celebration is ready to commence.
Lamar, like with his personal work, does an amazing job blending the accessible with what needs to be heard by not lamenting his heritage or white washing his usual approach.
As to be expected, some tracks do stand out as weak when placed next to some of the truck knockers on here like in “The Ways” and “All the Stars.”
Others stand out just for their aesthetically pleasing and eclectic execution such as “I am”, “Bloody Waters” and “Seasons.”
Other intense hits include “Black Panther”, “X”, “Opps”, “Paramedic!” and to an extent, “Kings Dead” which would be a contender for song of the year if they would’ve cut out Future’s most corny appearances to date.
Lamar has many guest spots besides the songs where he is credited as the main artist like near the end of “I am” when he dances around Jorja Smiths vocals like a butterfly but stings like a bee on “X.” All in all, the album as a stand alone is a solid project with a lot of replay value. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars