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Filed under Entertainment, Issue 7

Black Panther Reaches Top

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An album that has created almost as much anticipation as the movie the songs are either from or inspired by. “Black Panther The Album” was curated by Kendrick Lamar and Anthony “Top Dawg Tifith” from Top Dawg Entertainment. Top Dawg Entertainment is a record label that a variety of talented artists are signed to, including Lamar. Lamar was selected for the project by the Director of Black Panther Ryan Coogler.
“Whose [Lamar] work has been so inspirational, and whose artistic themes align with those we explore in the film,” said Coogler.
The album reaches in to a variety of musical genres, along with a plethora of artists. TDE stars including Ab-soul, Schoolboy Q, SZA and Jay Rock. From the Hip-Hop end of the music spectrum, artists include Travis Scott, Future and 2 Chainz. A touch of R&B is added by Toronto singer The Weeknd and El Paso songbird Khalid. Along with hip-hop and R&B, the album boasts an even larger variety of genres and subgenres. The Bay-Area group SOB X RBE continues to broaden the different sounds on this album with their usage of modern rap slang and terminology.
Gqom is style of house music that has recently emerged from South Africa has influences throughout the album. Overtones of the sound of a cinematic soundtrack are highlighted in several tracks. Though each genre may be seen as something individual, Lamar and other producers combined them into an individual masterpiece.
Lyrically the album reinforces an assortment of powerful themes, much like the movie that inspired the music. The themes seen throughout this album include equality both of gender and race. Much like the movie boasts a phenomenally talented assortment of black actors, the album followed suit with the musicians selected for the project. Other important themes that are present in this album are the ideas of change and power. In the movie, there is a challenge against the Black Panther and his ruling over Wakanda.
The theme of feminism is prevalent throughout the movie as there are strong and resourceful women portrayed throughout the film. The album carries that theme out through the usage of talented women.
Yugen Blakrok adds a diverse sound compared to the other woman artists on the album with her verse on the song “Opps.” Jorja Smith on the song “I Am” adds a softer sound in contrast to the musically variety that much of the album has. Not only does Smith add to the essence of feminism being a theme, she brushes again on the idea of change through lyrics reading “and I know that we have asked for change, don’t be scared to put the fears to shame.”
The beauty behind this album is that through the diversity that lies not only in the artists, but the music itself, is that there is something that will appeal to any listener. The album has strong individual components that all integrate together into something that is incomparable to any other modern hip-hop album. The themes that are created through this musical masterpiece are themes that are relevant in our world, and will remain relevant for as long as we face challenges and arise to change.

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Albert Lea High School Newspaper
Black Panther Reaches Top