Black Panther soundtrack review – Kendrick Lamar's Superfly moment

The rapper’s knotty nihilism shines through as he curates an all-star album featuring the Weeknd and James Blake

Film soundtracks are often critically acclaimed, they’re occasionally big sellers, they sometimes even insinuate themselves into popular culture in the same way that a zeitgeisty studio album might. But they rarely attract the kind of advanced publicity afforded the soundtrack to Black Panther. For some time now, the web has been awash with news stories anticipating its release. The most recent of these revealed that Kendrick Lamar had got the job of curator. On reading said scoop, it became apparent that the revelation was: he had a meeting about it.

That kind of thing tells you something about the hysterical pitch at which the internet conducts itself, but also tells you something about Kendrick Lamar, an artist in the midst of a creative streak so hot that being seen as his equal is the kind of thing other rappers brag about. “Not even Kendrick can humble me,” boasts Schoolboy Q at one point on the Black Panther soundtrack. Lamar is so revered that even his more ephemeral releases are greeted with elation: if the guy’s so good that he can put out a collection of untitled demos and outtakes that’s better than many artists’ main albums, why shouldn’t people get excited about a film soundtrack created under his aegis?

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Black Panther soundtrack review – Kendrick Lamar's Superfly moment