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Mace & Crown | March 23, 2018

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'Black Panther: The Album' is just as good as the movie

‘Black Panther: The Album’ is just as good as the movie

Johnessa Richard | Contributing Writer

The first song is its movie title, “Black Panther.”  The song starts with flickering lighter effects with recurring sounds of djembe, or African-type drums. Amidst the deaf-defying strings and anticipation, it’s when Kendrick Lamar says: “Wait.” As if there is about to experience something totally different, heard like never before.  

After the hault, we then hear a piano breaking through any preconceived notions there may have been before pressing play.  The piano, melodic in a way, allows Kendrick Lamar to strip down and as the kids say, “spit bars.”  

Next is the lead single to the soundtrack, “All The Stars” which is sung by Grammy-nominated SZA and Kendrick Lamar. “All The Stars” is an electric ensemble with amazing vocals given much accredited to the singers.  Following “All The Stars” is “X” featuring artists such as SchoolBoy Q, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz. Are you on ten yet? Because this song definitely is.

If one was to take a slightly different turn from the high intensity of the album then look for songs such as “Ways,” performed by Khalid and Swae Lee (half of the rap group, Rae Sremmurd).  Khalid’s soothing, chill and carefree vibes is an amazing break between the potency and ruggedness experienced just a few songs ago. “I am” by Jorja Smith.  Her pleasantly sweet-sounding voice is one of the key highlights of the composed work.

For something one wouldn’t expect on the album, it would be good to listen to “Opps.” Its go-go dance and EDM type beat was something that seemed peculiar and out of the album’s future.  This song is performed by up and coming artists, Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok.

However, if one is a huge advocate of old-school hip-hop, but still feel a connection with the new-school then “Paramedic,” and “Bloody Waters” is a must-listen-to track.  As Kendrick Lamar mentions at the beginning of “Paramedic,” it’s taking major inspiration from Northern California (NorCal). “Bloody Waters” features hip-hop legend, Ab-Soul including newer artists such as Anderson Paak, and James Blake.  It was obvious that “Bloody Waters” main focus was actually on the lyrics, not just the rhythmics of the song.   

As “Bloody Waters” is slowly fading to an end we are immediately hit with “Kings’ Dead.” No words can be spoken for “Kings’ Dead,” it is truly a masterpiece to the young, millennial ear. The lyrics, ad-libs, features, everything about it was great (including Future’s nonsensical “La Di Da Di Da”).  

At this point, we are now nearing the end of the album with Zacari and “Redemption Interlude” and Mozzy and “Seasons.” The two tracks are songs one would listen to on the drive home or for winding down after a long day.  

Although the album does pick up at “Big Shot” which features not only Travis Scott but also a “trap-like” cadence to compliment the flute woodwind.  

Last but not least is “Pray for Me” performed by the Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar.  This song is the last on the album as well as in the movie. It has the Weeknd’s name all over it filled with “Starboy” vibes. It is a great conclusion to one of the most highly appreciated and sonically-sounding albums ever. T’challa would be happy.