Top Dawg – Aftermath –
Kendrick Lamar and SZA have both had a great 2017; Lamar, fresh off the success of his record DAMN, and six wins at the VMAs now has a sneaker line in tow, while labelmate SZA celebrates five Grammy nominations for her first mainstream success, the sultry R&B release, CTRL. The pair jet-sets into 2018 with an even greater start as the musical genius behind one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Black Panther.
Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment announced that it would be overseeing the soundtrack with the help of director Ryan Coogler.
“I’m truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside Ryan and Marvel’s vision,” said Lamar in a press release.
Coogler is best known for his award-winning 2015 movie, Creed which pitted Michael B. Jordan in a dramatic take on the Rocky series. Black Panther, much like Creed, flips the script for black audiences with an exclusively African-American cast and fresh take on the Marvel Universe.
The film wears its cultural heritage on its sleeve, starring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, battling for the future of Wakanda against Creed’s Michael B. Jordan. Capes and hammers have been traded out for African aesthetics and costumes designed by Ruth Carter. Forest Whitaker, Angela Basset, and Lupita Nyong’o also share their names among the credits.
Of course, topping the project are the towering hip-hop singles from Lamar and SZA. The first salvo from the soundtrack, “All The Stars” is a bumping anthem for the silver screen. Dark, synth-y, and nocturnal, the song sounds like a single from SZA’s own CTRL; her voice pierces the veil with the thump of a drum machine while Lamar unloads a verse fit for a superhero: “Tell me what you gonna do to me/ Confrontation ain’t nothing new to me/ You can bring a bullet, bring a sword, bring a morgue/ But you can’t bring the truth to me.”
SZA’s elastic voice floats, sashays, and sails throughout the chorus, “All the stars are closer, all the stars are closer,” she sings. At its core, “All The Stars” is a song about love and determination.
Even if Black Panther doesn’t live up to they hype, despite already beating Captain America: Civil War as the most preordered Marvel film ever, it’s sure to have the greatest sound of any superhero movie out there.
As Black Panther pounces on the bad guys he’ll have hip-hop greatness at his back.