Review: 'Black Panther: The Album' A Tracklist Breakdown

BY ASIA RIDDICK

Bold and brazen, "Black Panther: The Album" inspired by Marvels Black Panther movie is a mixed bag of energetic, brass, heavy tunes that encompass vocal variety from each artist on the track. Serving as a dynamic collaborative piece its exploration on the interchangeability of prominence and exploitation offers a narrative that not only is a parallel to the movie but real life. 

Here's a track-by-track review of the album:

1. "Black Panther" by Kendrick Lamar

A light flicker followed by whispers of "Why I go easy?/Know why I go easy," "Black Panther" by Kendrick Lamar is an intrusive and potent track that opens as the first song from the album. The unorthodox sound mixed and mastered by Matt Schaeffer and Mike Bozzi respectively work as a cohesive piece of art. From the piano keys to the drums, Lamar takes us through a whirlwind of emotions with his intense lyricism that in this song is a bridge between peace and calamity. 

2. "All The Stars" by Kendrick Lamar & SZA

The vibes were intense with this one! "All The Stars" produced by Al Shux and Sounwave featuring TDE label mates SZA and Kendrick Lamar was a soft, melodic tune that makes you want to close your eyes and drift to another place. SZA's captivating vocals undoubtedly, the life of this song, was matched with killer visuals that add to the beauty of this track.

3. "X" by ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz & Saudi

Possibly referencing the Wakandans signature crossed arms, "X" by ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, and South African rapper, Saudi is a flute-infused banger. Produced by !llmind and Sounwave, the track opens to a pre-chorus by an uncredited Lamar. Energetic to say the least, this track was fun to listen to given its semi-trap vibes not to mention Q's delivery. "Not even Kendrick can humble me, " his lyrics always seem to flow so well. In conjunction, Saudi and 2 Chainz do a pretty dope job with their parts. Definitely a go-to song. 

4. "The Ways" by Khalid & Swae Lee

Khalid's vocal ability to take you to another place is insane, an island perhaps, "The Ways" also featuring Swae Lee is a super chill track. The two complemented each other rather well on this song as they expressed their wants for a "power girl." Produced by Kendrick Lamar (whose voice can be heard weaved in with Lee's), Sounwave, and BADBADNOTGOOD works effortlessly as one, making it a dope track. Who's the "power girl" though? Nakia maybe? 

5. "Opps" by Vince Staples & Yugen Blakrok

Produced by Ludwig G√∂ransson and Sounwave, "Opps" by Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok oddly give off House music vibes, it works though. A disco dancing, end of the world track perhaps, Kendrick Lamar once again makes an uncredited appearance with his opening verse followed by Staples. Not too long after we're met with Blakrok's heat, that of which takes the song to an entirely different level. The South African rapper demolished her part and was the perfect finishing touch to the track.  

6. "I Am" by Jorja Smith

Undoubtedly a vibe, "I Am" by Jorja Smith is both beautiful and soulful. With its rock elements, the track is just the right amount of heavy, taking you away and pulling you in simultaneously. Smith as an artist always leaves you in deep thought. Her ability to incite introspection of self is pretty magical and with Lamar on the outro, the song is easily a work of art. 

7. "Paramedic!" by SOB X RBE

After you listen to "Paramedic!" you'll realize that the exclamation point goes hand in hand with the aggressive tone of the song. Giving off trap vibes this is the type of track that will have you ready to check anyone coming out of line as the lyrics state in its chorus recited by Lamar, "I wish a n*gga would/I wish a b*tch would." Very West Coast and full of a sort of magnetism, the track which also features ROB X RBE is a lighter, more fun, club joint that'll make you want to get up and dance.

8. "Bloody Waters" by Ab-Soul, Anderson .Paak & James Blake

Okay, Ab-Soul is an entire force, "You might wanna bypass, this smoke ain't gas trick," his lyrical puns are insane! An instrumental reminiscent of raindrops, "Bloody Waters," is exactly what its name denotes. Also, featuring Anderson .Paak and James Blake this track produced by Kendrick Lamar and Sounwave should be added to everyone's playlist. 

9. "King's Dead" by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Future, and James Blake)

Produced by Teddy Walton, and Mike Will Made-It, "King's Dead" by Jay Rock featuring Kendrick Lamar, Future, and what seems to be a ghostly James Blake offer a strident yet, dynamic sound to the Black Panther soundtrack. Unconventional to say the least, Future's high pitched raspy sound when reciting "La di da di da" bring to light a more playful tone to the tune that ends with "All hail King Killmonger." With its upbeat and aggressive tempo "King's Dead" is the song you turn all the way up wherever you are.

10. "Redemption Interlude" by Zacari

The one minute and 25-second "Redemption Interlude" by Zacari featuring soft piano instrumentals is effortless. Ending with a distortive outro from Hykeem Carter and Kendrick Lamar murmurs of "Sky keep fallin' down, fallin' down (Black Panther)," can be heard as it transitions into the next track. 

11. "Redemption" by Babes Wodumo & Zacari

An Afro-Beat dance hitter, "Redemption," by South African gqom singer Babes Wodum is accompanied by Zacari and the uncredited Kendrick Lamar who opens the song with "Two wrongs don't make us right away/Tell me something's wrong." In a direct parallel to the movie, this track seems to offer insight into Nakia and T'Challa's relationship. Rekindled or redeemed if you will at the end of Black Panther, the chorus alludes to this notion with Zacari singing, "Aw baby, I want you (yeah)/Baby, I need you, I wanna see you/Baby, I wanna go up again."

12. "Seasons" by Mozzy, Sjava & Reason

An understated work of art "Seasons" by Mozzy, Sjava, and Reason opens with beautiful piano keys to "Seasons change/There's still time for us to run away" before it transitions into its first verse by Sjava done in the Zulu language. Hypnotic in nature the song sheds light on the systematic injustice of incarceration on communities of color as Reason denotes, "No way out, sh*t we locked in the system/Catch a case and they not gon' forgive ya/White skin, you be out before Christmas." This track speaks volumes and is undoubtedly one of the best tracks off the album.

13. "Big Shot" by Kendrick Lamar & Travis Scott

A banger for sure, "Big Shot" by Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott, produced by Matt Schaeffer, Sounwave, CuBeatz, and Cardo is a fun and energetic mix. As its title denotes, the song explores life as a big shot with Lamar letting us know he is the "Big Top Dawg and [that he] dance on 'em like Diddy," and let's not forget his "Wakanda flex." The catchy song is bound to have anyone bounce up out their seat.  

14. "Pray For Me" by The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar

Produced by Frank Dukes and Doc McKinney, the last song on the Black Panther soundtrack, "Pray For Me" by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar explore sacrifice and redemption interchangeably while giving off a futuristic sound that showcases the ability of both artists to be musical chameleons. Its the perfect song to close out the album and transitions out pretty nicely. 

Now that you've made it through each song, which is your favorite? What are your thoughts on the album?