Listening to The TDE SOUNDTRACK for Black Panther. I played it back a few times on youtube. Diggin' it...BUT I have issues. Let me first say that I am not sharing my opinions to have ANY counter effect what so ever on the success of this project. Because I love this FILM (period. I separate the 2 projects with a few exceptions. So I don't totally relate the soundtrack to the film and that's where the critique comes in.
Before I go in - shoutout to Nikolas A. Draper-Ivey for an amazing, straight to the point album cover that is awesome. Applause! Very cool and congrats.
I am also proud of select tracks on this album. BLACK PANTHER by K.dot is a great intro. ALL THE STARS has my total love and applause! I am a fan of SZA's unique voice, storytelling, and Kendrick for his genius poetry and his intellect. I enjoy watching his evolution.
Dave Meyers and The Lil Homies deserve all the love for the ALL THE STARS Video! I LOVE THAT! That is an epic, African, Fantasy vision that reflects the film!
The Soundtrack's production and beats = great as expected. But most of it, unfortunately does not reflect the purpose or content of the film. I was at the Atlanta Fox Theater (2-7-18) premiere. See my love letter review here at ONYXCON.com in this BLOG tab.
Start with the props. A track OPPS with K.dot, Vince Staples, and Yugen Blakrok is fire! It pulsates like the perfect workout track to getting in Panther level, battle shape. Kudos on this.
PARAMEDIC! works as a Killmonger salute. I get it. And I will leave that there so when you see the film it will make more sense. But... I must admit that hearing the onslaught of street lingo spit N-bombs and B-bombs on a soundtrack for THIS, makes me wanna recite the NEGUS speech by Kendrick on 'To Pimp a Butterfly.' N-E-G-U-S !!! Queen! Goddess! etc. As an actor I know how to get in character and role play but Killmonger at his worst never said the type of words in this track. This is gift of a film - It's so much bigger than that street level (pardon my intellectual angst) basic bullshit . I am in my 40s. I was born into HipHop and I have directly been part and contributed directly to the culture. The foundations are about revamping and building up communities through Arts, not trapping them. #BuildingNotTrappingCommunities - I coined the hashtag. If there is anything I have learned in seeing HipHop become what it is and being appropriated, misinterpreted, reinterpreted, coveted, loved, cherished, and exploited - is that, believe it or not my youngunz, you can sound hard without calling yourselves Ns and Bs. You can be bigger and realer than being a 'Real N'. That talk - should be dead. It is dysfunctional. It is time for more. It's NEGUS time!
Now, that I have gotten my truth off my chest - Sure 'It's lit'. Sure. 'skrrrr skrrrch!' and all the other little sounds. LOL! I have many guilty pleasures that fit the label of Trap music and related in my vast assortment of online playlist and CDs, way back to tapes, and even records. I love music. I love HipHop and R&B. I love Black Music. I love soundtracks.
SHAFT (1971 ), Boomerang, JUICE, Boyz N The Hood, Above The Rim, SuperFly, New Jack City, BLADE, and The Best man all had relevant soundtracks that spoke reflection to the films. Classic soundtracks. When I listen to a sound track for BLACK PANTHER I want to celebrate the greatest fantasy, Black, African epic of the ages. I did not see an overly aggressive dysfunctional sad song of ghetto pain, though there is an incredibly important ode to that issue in the diapsora that is a huge part of the story. So I don't want the everyday lyrical sulk in rap of my people calling each others words that no matter what anyone says - are still gutter level no matter how much some lie and say we are using terms of endearment. Psychologically it's a pull downward. It is time for collaborative Art to reflect it's muse and this movie is about ROYALTY level conflicts. Everything cannot and should not be hood. Are our young artist too trapped in the pain and depression of 2018 America's issues to fantasize about a greater reality of pure Black majesty and battles on higher levels of consciousness?
Back to the gems - The Weekend with Kendrick is a poetic gem that fits lyrically and rhythmically to the fullest with the drum chorus. The track REDEMPTION starts me feeling like YESSS! I need fusion with Afro-Pop rhydummmz! I like! I Like! OKOYE's ( Danai Gurira) 'We are home' line from the film echos in my head. SEASONS fills a gap too - possibly the final balance between older roots and culture mixed with modern rap's blues.
All this left me wanting more collaborations. Just imagine:
*K.dot with Youssou N'Dour * KRS ONE, Public Enemy, and Zap Mama * SZA and Erykah Badu with Thandiswa Maswai ! Somebody/somewhere is feeling me on this. And It's just my perspective. Not hating, just speaking my truth to light.
It is what it is though. We got what we got. And it is still good. It will nonetheless be a pop banger with rotation in booming car systems and spring/summer concerts. Heck, I will probably buy the CD. But I know I will skip to favorite tracks constantly to reflect the HEROISM, MAJESTY, and ISSUES handled with INTEGRITY and HONOR! I saw greatness on the silver screen. I only want to hear greatness when I think of BLACK PANTHER.
Ashe! So be it.
THE MOVIE is a five star classic in my book and it is the reason for the season!
Soundtrack = *** 3 stars outta 5.
- Joseph R Wheeler III , A/F/P . ONYXCON