As the premiere of Black Panther approaches, fans are starting to see just how big of a role music is going to play in this movie. It’s no surprise that director of the film, Ryan Coogler, would hand-pick Kendrick Lamar and his label (Top Dawg Entertainment) to oversee the soundtrack for the Marvel feature film. Kendrick Lamar’s natural cinematic flair and the socio-political narratives in his albums make him an obvious pairing for the franchise.
Earlier this month, Lamar revealed the first track from Black Panther: The Album, titled “All the Stars,” featuring his label companion SZA. Now, Lamar has teamed up with Future and James Blake to record Jay Rock’s most recently released song off the Black Panther soundtrack, “Kings Dead,” produced by Mike WiLL Made-It.
The song starts off featuring a trap beat under Kendrick and Future trading bars, with Lamar providing the hook: “I made a hundred thou’ then I freaked it (I freaked it) / I made 500 thou’ then I freaked it (I freaked it) / I bought a ‘87 for the weekend (the weekend) / This ain’t what you want, this ain’t what you want (what you want).”
Jay Rock comes in with the first verse right before the songs hits a ‘60s psychedelics-inspired chord and switches the beat a couple of minutes in. The second part of the song gives us a beat reminiscent of Kanye West’s “Mercy” and drives the hook until the song ends, with Lamar spitting the same type of fast-paced bars he delivered on his previous album with “DNA.”
As Black Panther: The Album keeps on developing, fans are getting a chance to see just how awesome the soundtrack is going to be. While some critics see it as the same story of blockbuster superhero movies putting mismatched collaborations into their soundtrack to justify their huge budgets, as of now, the past two singles released from the album have been nothing but bangers. Only time will tell what the public perception of Black Panther: The Album will be. The album represents the first time in Marvel Cinematic Universe history where Marvel has incorporated multiple original recordings created specifically for a film. Outside of the film, however, Black Panther: The Album aims to stand strong as an independent body of work. With star-studded collaborations and top-notch producers providing us hit songs, this album is sure to deliver all on its own.
Listen to “King’s Dead” below. Black Panther opens on Feb. 16.