Before one the year’s most anticipated films arrives in theaters next week, Kendrick Lamar, Top Dawg Entertainment, and TDE CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith present Black Panther: The Album, the blockbuster soundtrack featuring music from and inspired by Marvel’s superhero movie.
The stars align on the 14-track set, which features hip-hop and R&B’s biggest names including K-Dot, who appears on five tracks, and his TDE family members SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock. Other guests include The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Future, 2 Chainz, Khalid, Swae Lee, Vince Staples, Jorja Smith, Anderson .Paak, Zacari, Mozzy, and more.
The project has been a long time coming, according to director Ryan Coogler. “I’ve been a massive Kendrick fan ever since I first heard him, since his mixtapes, and I’ve been trying to track him down,” he told NPR. “Eventually I caught up with him a couple years ago—first with Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith, who runs his label, and then later on sat down with him and Kendrick and just spoke about much his music affected me. He talked about my movies that he had seen, and we said if the opportunity comes, we’d love to work with each other on something.”
When Coogler approached K-Dot about the project, the plans were much smaller. “At first, he was just going to do a few songs for the film,” he added. “Then he came in and watched quite a bit the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it.”
Much the soundtrack came together during “The DAMN. Tour,” according to Kung Fu Kenny’s trusted producer Sounwave. “During] ‘The DAMN. Tour,’ we probably came up with 50 percent it—the production, the hooks and ideas,” he said. “When we got back from the tour in September, that’s when we were able to execute our ideas and reach out to people we respect and whatnot … kind just put the stamp on it. So, I want to say those two months was the most vital on that tour, in terms creative process.”
Stream Black Panther: The Album below and check out the film in theaters on Feb. 16.