The Black Panther album has finally arrived, an album to accompany the Marvel hero and King of Wakanda’s debut solo film.
For those of you don’t know who Black Panther is, in a few words he is the protector of Wakanda a fictional African nation that sits as a crown jewel of the forgotten treasures of African culture. Created in 1966 by Stan Lee, although in the same year as the Black Panther Party there was no purposeful connection and actually predated the formation of the Black Panther movement. Though British GQ has drawn parallels with their latest cover starring Michael B. Jordan.
Although Wakanda is a fictional nation within Africa, the film looks to greatly draw on African inspiration and has been touted as a revolutionary film with it’s setting and cast. Though the Kendrick Lamar (an artist that released, Tammy’s Song, Alright and others) led album that sits alongside the Black Panther film, doesn’t have the same impact as we can hope the film will.
The album is very good, that cannot be denied and it as if Kendrick has looked at what Dr. Dre did with Compton which accompanied Straight Outta Compton and felt the gauntlet had been set to create an OST that could sit alongside that. That challenge has been accepted, with tracks like Opps, Big Shot, I Am that stand out and could sit on any album. With appearances from Travis Scott, Future, Jorja Smith (who can do know wrong), The Weeknd and a lot more. So he has shown he can challenge the greats, but Straight Outta Compton was a film inspired by America, not Africa.
With an album led by Kendrick Lamar, someone who samples Fela Kuti on his solo albums. You would expect that this would be the perfect platform to showcase African talent and mix African and America artists together. Where the inspiration does seep in and there are tracks with Sjava and Babes Wodumo they are late in the album and fillers before we get to Big Shot and Pray For Me. With the final two Kendrick Lamar tracks with Travis Scott (Big Shot) and The Weeknd (Pray For Me) something that could sit on any of their solo albums.
The Black Panther album is a great album to accompany a film, as not many of those type of albums exist. With some standout tracks, by artists we love and it’s something you should definitely be streaming right now. But it feels as if Kendrick missed an opportunity on this. A chance to do what Dr. Dre has previously done with American artists and push African artists into the limelight. In truth Drake bringing Black Coffee onto More Life did more than the Black Panther OST does for African music.
Check it out on Apple Music and let us know what you think…