“Black Panther” soundtrack proves a collaborative masterpiece

by Staff Writer Cody Campbell

Marvel’s “Black Panther” is one of this year’s most anticipated films, and its soundtrack will get fans even more excited.

Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar and the legendary Top Dawg Entertainment record label produced the album, with Lamar also performing on five of the 14 tracks and credited as a writer.

Featuring some of the most iconic hip-hop stars of today, such as SZA, 2 Chainz, Khalid, Future, The Weeknd and Schoolboy Q, one would find it difficult to listen to the soundtrack and not find a voice they recognize.

The tone of the album is very reminiscent of Lamar’s sound, with the complex beat patterns and experimental leading melodies being signatures of his past albums.

The production is the album’s highlight. Lamar is known for his original and mind-bending psychedelic take on the hip-hop genre, and the “Black Panther” soundtrack is no exception.

Even in the tracks without Lamar, it is easy to hear his influence layered into the offbeat compositions and innovative beats.

However, even though the production value is amazing, it does fall short on a few of its performances.

The third track on the album, “X,” features a solid beat, but the lyrics in the verses feel generic by focusing on the overused ideas of money and women. Most of the rest of the album seems to have a deeper meaning than what “X” delivers.

It is hard to choose a favorite track from the “Black Panther” soundtrack, but two songs stand out from the rest.

The fourth track, “The Ways,” featuring Khalid and Swae Lee, is an entrancing song packed with emotion and a catchy chorus that can easily get stuck in listeners’ heads.

The album’s final track, “Pray for Me,” by The Weeknd and Lamar is just as catchy but emphasizes a driving and powerful synth melody layered with The Weeknd’s soothing vocals and Lamar’s gritty rap verses.

Overall, the “Black Panther” soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to Marvel’s sure-to-be blockbuster hit. I give the soundtrack four out of five stars for its excellent blend of high quality production and the collaborative perfection of some of the biggest modern hip-hop artists.

Hopefully, the film will take full advantage of its successful soundtrack when it hits theatres Feb. 16.