A Look Inside the Music of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’


Spoiler: There may be minor spoilers about the Marvel movie “Black Panther” contained in the article.

I am a big fan the way the people behind the movie “Black Panther” chose to feature the music in and outside the movie. Now you're thinking outside? How would there be music outside the movie? In pairing with the movie, “Black Panther The Album” was released Feb. 9, with the movie released Feb.16

“Black Panther The Album” was produced by Grammy award winning artist Kendrick Lamar. The album currently sits at number 1 on Billboard's Top 200 albums, where it has been for the past two weeks. It features a top tier cast of artists throughout the whole album: Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Future, Anderson Paak and The Weeknd.

Unlike many movie soundtracks where the soundtrack directly pairs with the movie, this album doesn't actually go with the movie. Only two songs from album are actually featured in the movie. “Pray for me” by Kendrick and The Weeknd and “Opps" by Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok are the select songs from the album featured in the “Black Panther” movie. However, the reason behind actually makes sense. A majority of the movie takes place in the country of Wakanda in Africa. Sure hip-hop is deeply rooted in African-American culture, but you wouldn’t hear Kendrick Lamar bumping out of a hut in Africa. Hip-hop is utilized in the movie, however, but it’s more closely associated with the character Erik Killmonger, who is from Oakland, Calif., which is where the movie begins, and hip-hop is very popular in California.
Sidenote: I think it’s cool the makers of the film had part of it based in Oakland because that is where the political organization the Black Panther Party began.

The music that is predominantly featured in the movie had a lot of African influence. The movie’s composer, Ludwig Göransson, created original scores for the movie. The movie’s soundtrack was recorded in London and it features a large classical orchestra and choir. The scores perfectly captured the feel and emotions in all scenes featured. They really emphasize the African roots this movie is trying to capture. Also, as mentioned before, hip-hop is more closely associated with the character Erik Killmonger. Göransson also does a great job with this theme when Killmonger is present in the movie. He keeps the African vibe to the scores, but also throws in a hip-hop vibe to really drive in the fact that Killmonger is not from Wakanda.

Both the album by Lamar and the album by Göransson play off each other and make each other stronger. Having an all-star album filled with top-tier artists and having it produced by Kendrick Lamar helped push the movie to people interested in his specific genre. However, the movie and its own soundtrack is a big hit because it celebrates and emphasizes African music while focuses on the fact the movie is about empowerment. Lamar regularly features those aspects in his own music and he brings them into each song on “Black Panther The Album.” Both albums are really good in their respective music genres and both are successful because of each other. If you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet, I highly suggest to because, in my opinion, it is one of the better movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

By Alex St. Peters
Photo owned by Marvel Comics