Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Featuring: SZA, The Weeknd, Future, 2 chainz, Travis Scott, Khalid, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Swae Lee, Zacari, Ab-Soul, Vince Staples, James Blake, Anderson .Paak, SOB X RBE, Mozzy
Production: Sounwave, Ludwig Goransson, Mike Will Made-It, Cardo, Doc Mckinney, Frank Dukes !llmind, CuBeatz, Dj Dahi, Teddy Walton
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records
TDE has become the most creative and effective label not just in hip-hop but in the entire music industry. Releasing two of the most important albums of 2017, the TDE camp wasting no time in 2018 delivers an impressively executed soundtrack to compliment an instant classic comicbook film in Black Panther. Similar to the film the soundtrack bears an all-star cast of artists & producers, and for that reason has been drawing comparisons to the 2016 Suicide Squad soundtrack. However where that album failed to deliver cohesiveness to match it's level of talent, this album succeeds. It's almost reminiscent of Drake's "More Life" playlist in that it succesfully touches on a wide variety of genres while still remaining cohesive. Kendrick and company take us on a ride through beautiful Wakanda with refreshing tracks like Redemption, Bloody Waters & one of my personal favorites "The Ways" featuring Khalid & Swae Lee. This album (Like the movie) however is also a trip to the west coast. Which is why Black Panther director Ryan Coogler called on Kendrick & TDE to handle the production for the soundtrack. Tracks like "Paramedic" featuring SOB X RBE and "Seasons" featuring Mozzy are a direct representation of that West Coast fabric.
The project has also produced two videos. Most recently the high energy Mike WiLL assisted "King's Dead" record Featuring Jay Rock, Future & James Blake and was directed by TDE president Dave Free & Jack Bergert. Frequent collaborator Dave Myers shot the video for the album's triumphant lead single "All The Stars" which features labelmate SZA and was produced by Al Shux, the mastermind behind Jay-Z's widely successful NYC anthem "Empire State Of Mind". Both videos like most Kendrick videos are visually gripping, eccentric and truly add to the many quality layers of this project.
Wanna thank the entire TDE family for bringing us back to a time where movie soundtracks were something to look forward to. Black Panther: The Album debut at #1 on the billboard hot 100, where it currently sits. This being TDE's fifth No.1 album, following Kendrick's "DAMN." "Untitled Unmastered" "To Pimp A Butterfly" and Schoolboy Q's "Oxymoron". This record is the result of a perfect marriage between two projects, one of those full circle moments where everything falls into place and everything feels like it's the way it should be. Whether it's production, themes, features, videos you name it this record is the complete package, you could even argue it's on a similar level as DAMN. One thing is for certain, Kendrick Lamar and the TDE team have the game in a chokehold and don't appear to be letting go anytime soon. From celebratory island vibes, Tribal 808's, Reggae, R&B, soulful hip hop and everything in between this album has it all and for that we give "Black Panther: The Album" 5 out of 5 X's.