After we first heard the news that Kendrick Lamar would be curating the soundtrack to the forthcoming Marvel Studios film Black Panther, we knew that the result would be something very special. And once hearing his collaborations with SZA, The Weeknd, James Blake and more emerging from the list, it was clear to hear that this was more than just another film soundtrack but something that looks to emulate the progression of both black cinema and black music.
Much like the casting of Black Panther itself, the artists that feature on this release are predominantly black, and while there is clearly a sense of pride within Lamar's choices, the music itself doesn't look to characterise itself racially. Instead we are treated to a blend of hip-hop, RnB and ethereal ambience that aim to not only paint a picture of what to expect from this new film, but stand alone as a symbolic reminder that black musicians are very much part of the commercial sound the world over.
At times you truly forget that this record was only produced for a film as Kendrick Lamar puts just as much heart and soul into this as he does all his other work. The 'Black Panther OST' is a solid, well-produced release that would have been just as impressive if it wasn't attached to a major Hollywood movie.