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The Made-For-Movies Soundtrack Industry Lives Again Thanks To Kendrick Lamar

Written by camjameson
/ 5 mins read

2018 was a fantastic year for more than one industry: Comic book movies represented two of the year’s must-see events, African & African-American stars helmed one of the most successful films in decades & Hip Hop reached a new plateau of artistry – Oh, plus all of that happened within a single movie; Cool, right? Black Panther presented a whole new frontier for Black representation in film, but one of its most astonishing achievements is the revival of mixed-media relations in the cinematic market, namely the development of custom soundtracks recorded specifically for & to represent a work of film. Kendrick Lamar, one of the most – if not the most – influential lyricists of our time lent his voice, production skills & vision to writing an entirely unique album of original music for Black Panther, changing the way the industry treats movie tie-in music altogether whilst simultaneously inspiring a movement of self-discovery.

Engrossing Listeners In A Cinematic Adventure

As a film, Black Panther is nearly perfect, telling an enrapturing story of a kingdom under siege from the inside & a lost legacy that has evolved into jealous, treasonous rage, but it is made whole by the music which drives the story along – Originally tasked with writing a theme-song & a radio single for the film, Kendrick Lamar fell in love with the comic book adaptation & demanded to curate the official soundtrack to go alongside Ludwig Göransson’s movie score. With Göransson adopting elements of Senegalese culture into his symphonic arrangements, Lamar likewise tried to inject each of the compositions on his soundtrack with African-inspired instrumentation, tribal chants & epic stakes – as clearly seen in songs like “Redemption” – to really tie the record to the overarching story of Black Panther.

Seamlessly Fusing Black Culture With Black Roots

The African-inspired instrumentation in these songs goes further than just cheekily aligning Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack with the movie’s narrative, as he also takes the time to reshape his usual social commentary into a cultural commentary that gets African-American individuals to think deeply about their roots & their place in the world, making their Black Panther viewing experience all the more captivating – For instance, when listening to & especially watching his & SZA’s collaboration “All The Stars,” Lamar plainly outlines the struggle of Black youth in American society with a casual yet commanding tone, conveying to them the strength of the African people in standing up for their beliefs & staying true to their roots, inciting change within our own nation with half of the population’s ancestry as a standard of pride to live up to – Basically, if Caucasians are going to continuously steal African-American culture without crediting them for the discoveries, maybe it’s about time they go full-African & see how quickly the culture-vulturism stops.

Bold Risks Reap Bold Rewards

The Compton, California native has long been regarded as one of the most talented Hip Hop lyricists around, but much of his praise revolved around his staying true to his neighbourhood even in fame, making sure the plight of the ghetto was always face-forward in his raps – With all the power that comes with curating a Disney-owned soundtrack also comes the possibility for extreme censorship, which would essentially nullify all of Kendrick Lamar’s charm & authority to Hip Hop listeners. Thankfully, he holds true to his roots & represents true African-American lifestyle uncut, blasting through conscious rhymes in tracks like the titular “Black Panther” & getting slanderous on the Trap-ified “Big Shot” with Travis Scott, making sure not to filter his culture for mainstream eyes as he champions the march of progress in his words.

Bringing About A Paradigm Shift In Hip Hop & R&B

Back before streaming platforms made albums – for a short while – virtually obsolete, movie soundtracks – especially those written specifically for a film – were a cut above the rest, the watercooler talking points everyone just had to have to relive their favourite movies between theatre & home releases, but like all good things they died off at the turn of the decade; Kendrick Lamar singlehandedly revived this entire niche industry with his soundtrack for Black Panther, turning the auxiliary music of a film into a blockbuster event all its own again & opening up the floodgates for artists to tie themselves to movie productions in the future – Just think about it: In the months since the release of songs like “The Ways” & “I Am” off this album, the industry has seen two spectacular film tie-in soundtracks in the form of Mike WiLL Made-It’s bangin’ Creed II: The Album & the Post Malone fronted Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack, a tradition we’re likely to see continue in the coming years as movie studios re-discover the value of brand-name artist endorsements – It’s a bright future for audiophiles!

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