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Album Review: Kendrick Excels on the “Black Panther” Album

Mike Daly ’18, Staff Writer

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The film Black Panther is a highly anticipated blockbuster that is expected to break records for all superhero movies. In saying that, Black Panther The Album is a well-crafted album that has 14 songs on the soundtrack. These 14 songs are a mix of hip-hop and R&B with strong African cultural influences. Kendrick Lamar oversaw and produced the entirety of this album, which is a testament to his versatility not only as a rapper, but as a producer as well. The title track of the album, Black Panther, starts off with Kendrick Lamar rapping very softly over the light tune of a piano. Then the beat picks up, large drums reach a crescendo, and Kendrick begins to spit rapidly about serious problems affecting African Americans in the United States. The second song, All The Stars, features rising star and TDE cornerstone SZA. This song was released in early January and has been a smash hit since the moment it was released because of how well SZA and Kendrick mesh together. The third song, off the album X, features 2 Chainz, Saudi, and Schoolboy Q. It is arguably the best song on the album because each verse gets better and better. Schoolboy Q by far has the best verse on the song; this shows why he is one of the most underrated rappers in the game. 2 Chainz was, as always, a reliable feature and finished off the song perfectly. Some of the other featured artists on the album are The Weeknd, Swae Lee, Khalid, Future, and Travis Scott.

Personally, The Ways is my favorite song on the album because it perfectly incorporates Khalid’s melodic voice and cadence. The rhythmic snare allows for a smooth transition into Swae Lee’s verse where he seamlessly transitions from singing to rapping, with Kendrick Lamar adding background vocals to Swae Lee’s portion of the song. K-Dot is viewed by many to be at the top spot of the rap game, and this album only adds on to his growing legacy. Kendrick was the perfect choice to be the focal point of this album because he never makes the same song and never sounds the same, which fans truly appreciate. The album deserves to get some type of recognition for Grammy nominations next year based on the catalogue that is presented throughout the songs. Sonically and musically, it represents African-American culture and shows a wonderful sense of pride for African Americans. This album is a must listen to for hip hop heads because the beats and lyrics flow perfectly together with the new age trap sounds and instant classic bars from some of the best rappers in today’s game.  If I had to give a grade to this album, I would easily give it an A+ based on the growth throughout the soundtrack and how well the album incorporates the sounds of the hip hop culture.

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Album Review: Kendrick Excels on the “Black Panther” Album