The Sound of Wakanda

Marvel’s Black Panther has made iconic history in 2018. As the film’s been playing a pivotal role in representation and equality, it’s important to see all the public appreciation for having such a heroic cast that will inspire so many others. I want to take an objective view and say that the movie was cinematically well done, and that the cast, and music, proved to have a major impact on the quality of the story.
A blockbuster film deserves a soundtrack that compliments the essence of the film and the characters’ motivations, which connects the audience to a new universe through an aural experience. Black Panther delivers that and more. With Kendrick Lamar executively producing the project, it’s no surprise that empowering lyricism drives the entire score, making this one of the most contemporarily relevant stances ever taken in an original soundtrack.
Black Panther continues to break records around the globe and to create a sense of visibility direly needed into today’s media and Hollywood culture. For those who have yet to see the movie, believe me, it is an experience to behold. But personally, I listened to the album first and it gave me a huge sense of excitement and anticipation. The album follows a narrative that expresses the trials and accomplishments of anyone finding their role in the world. Can you be a good leader? Can you seek redemption? So many thoughts and emotions lie on the surface of this album for listeners to engage with and discover new forms of personal power.

Kendrick Lamar displays a wonderful degree of consistency with his musical endeavours, ever since the release of the highly acclaimed DAMN, and this soundtrack does nothing but continue to highlight Kendrick’s talents and creative ideals. Singles like ‘All the Stars’ and ‘King’s Dead’ are topping charts and streaming services, with amazing features and an array of sounds to mesh with the 808 culture and African deep drums.
There are songs that aren’t as popularly known but deserve to mentioned. ‘I Am’ by Jorja Smith delivers a touching narrative of about identity, trying new things, failing and fining solace in one’s regrets. ‘Paramedic!’ stands out by identifying pressing issues, like racism in the U.S. and police brutality, thus touching base with and encouraging many others who have viewed or experienced such indecencies. SZA, Future, Travis Scott, The Weekend and other notable features mesh with the memorable hooks, bridges and melodies that have left audiences singing the lyrics in all fashions.
Such tracks make the film even more special and pertinent. Marvel doesn’t need any extra help making movies that make a splash, but accompanying such an important film with a passionate and aggressive tone has truly made an even bigger impact. I hope to hear more superhero movie soundtracks that will touch on painful topics that we all have to bear along with and witness, that will touch those who need a superhero the most. Shout out to K. Dot. All hail King Killmonger.
Sean M. Steadman

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