Black Panther: The Album, In All of Its Glory

Black Panther: The Album is a compilation of music from and inspired by the 2018 Marvel film. Music inspired by Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd & SZA

Black Panther: The Album is a compilation of music from and inspired by the 2018 Marvel film. Music inspired by Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd & SZA

Martina Flores , Opinion Editor

“King of my city, king of my country, king of my homeland” Lamar recites in his song Black Panther. He continues into the song repeating the word “king” at least 25 more times, emphasizing the power, leadership, and compassion a true king possesses.

Even before the release of Black Panther on February 16th, the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack was widely praised and easily reached No.1 on the Billboard charts. The 14-song album features artists such as SZA, Khalid, The Weeknd, and clearly Kendrick Lamar. To give people an even clearer image of how huge this film-produced soundtrack is, Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” fell to No.2 and the soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman” came in third place and the album was only released on February 9th.

With an African superhero, an African-American director, and a majority black cast, the creation of the movie and the album generate a vision of Marvel’s Black Panther to exuberate the symbolism of a highly advanced, self-sufficient, colonialism-free African kingdom.

Furiously inventive, thoughtful, musically adventurous, and heavily influential, Lamar is this generation’s outstanding rapper. “Black Panther the Album” is very nearly as densely packed — with ideas, allusions and ambitions — as one of Lamar’s official solo albums.

So, what makes the album so phenomenal?

Although the majority of the songs on the album are not in the movie, the songs still speak a haunting yet impeccably beautiful truth with strong feminist overtones and an intense duality of kingship.

I find myself constantly skipping to “The Ways” by Khalid and Swae Lee, the fourth song on the album, not only because the lyrics speak beauty and truth, but because for some, it can act as a reality check.

Swae Lee talks about how the things people say about him creep in the back of his mind and hinders him to live a “normal life”. Through all of the mistakes he’s made in his life, he wants someone to still pick him up when he falls down, a girl.

“Your body and your mind is your contribution,” Swae Lee raps, along with Khalid, “I’m here to give you love and never lose ya, power girl, power girl.” Swae Lee and Khaalid recognize the power and comfort a woman can give, and acknowledge the struggle of being a human and the need for caring people.

Mark Lomanno, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Music, says in an interview conducted by Danny Hajjar, a journalist for News at Northeastern, that “The power of Kendrick’s music as a form of social protest and the artistry of his music are coming together in a unique way.”

The Black Panther album not only changes to the game for hip-hop, but it changes how the voices of those oppressed will no longer be silenced.

Alessandra Pacheco, a Marvel enthusiast, claims that the reason she thinks both the Black Panther movie and the album are admired so much is that they give a more powerful reason for the current generation to keep speaking their minds.

“It seems like the older generations aren’t willing to speak up, so having a movie with an all-black cast, featuring characters that are strong and at the same time vulnerable in a way on screen that we haven’t seen in a long time for heroes, is really breathtaking to see. It’s refreshing to look at a hero that isn’t perfect from the jump,” said Pacheco.

In a time of tense political climate and confusion, The Black Panther album brings forth a new way to embrace the Black culture, and other cultures as well. It opens the door for self-identification to be explored and talked about. It advocates for people who have a voice to speak up and not be silenced.

The Black Panther album is dynamic, unconventional, and socially and politically driven. It’s a production worth listening to.