A few weeks ago, Kendrick Lamar stoked the already fever-pitched anticipation for Marvel’s Black Panther film by revealing that he’d be playing a critical role in curating the film’s soundtrack. Now, with the film’s star-studded premiere in the rearview and the countdown to its February 16th release date beginning in earnest, Kung-Fu Kenny has ratcheted up the suspense another eleven notches by dropping the tracklist and album cover on his Twitter timeline like… Well, Black Panther drops out of that aircraft in the trailer.
The album is heavily saturated with Top Dawg Entertainment’s roster’s presence, including SZA, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and, of course, Kendrick himself, but it also features some big looks from rising stars outside the label’s usual suspects. English singer Jorja Smith makes an appearance with “I Am,” as do big-name rappers like 2 Chainz (“X”) and Travis Scott (“Big Shot”), while TDE-affiliated newcomer Zacari gets a tremendous look for his first major outing (“Redemption”). The biggest come ups might be for two up-and-coming rappers who aren’t part of the TDE solar system (yet), but have begun making noise locally; Sacramento rapper Mozzy and Compton rapper Reason both appear with South African soul singer Sjava on “Seasons.”
While Black Panther officially releases on the 16th, its soundtrack will drop one week earlier, on February 9th. For both superhero fans and music listeners, neither can get here soon enough. See Kendrick’s tweet with the tracklist and cover below.