Posts tagged Black Panther
Ball Don't Lie EP. 50.5 - Avengers: Endgame (SPOILER-FILLED)

It's the official Avengers: Endgame recap show! First time/Long time Steve joins the pod as we dive deep into the 22 reasons why Endgame is the biggest superhero movie of all-time!

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Flows on Twitter: @Flowsandolini
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Steve on Twitter: @ScoobySteve15

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Looking Glass #10: "Marvel movies are post-nut clarity"
The Looking Glass - Wolverine a musty snow monkey
Best projects of February 2018

It was a slow start to the calendar year in regards to music releases. It's not to say we weren't blessed with several high-quality projects in January, but the drip of new drops was an incremental one. The floodgates opened up wide for the month of February leading to a frenzy of project releases and upcoming announcements. If the first two months were any indicators of the rest of the year, March and beyond are shaping up quite nicely.

Before we jump ahead to the rest of 2018, let's pump the breaks real quick to discuss the most recent month that has passed us. Eyeless and Just JT of The Barber's Chair are here to share their 3 favorite music projects from February, along with a couple honorable mentions that should also be on your radar.

Black Panther Soundtrack (Curated by Kendrick Lamar/Top Dawg Entertainment)

Eyeless: Living up to the hype in a modern world of hyperbolic expectations is a difficult task in this climate. Between the unrelenting attention drawn towards the blockbuster film and the vaunted persona of the popular music label, thousands, if not millions of eyes and ears were pointed towards the direction of this soundtrack. Boy, TDE did not miss with the creation and curation of the Black Panther OST. Director of the first major Marvel film year Ryan Coogler had entrusted the keys of the music vehicle to one of the most well known and successful hip-hop/RnB collectives in the game who did not fumble when given the opportunity. TDE's creative prowess was on full display throughout the entirety of the album, making lyrical and melodic ties to the actual movie without seeming too forced.

The obvious duality between the film's protagonist T'Challa and antagonist Erik Killmonger can be felt even if you haven't watched Black Panther yet (if you haven't seen it yet...the fuck are you waiting for?!?!?). But after watching the movie, the strong connection points can definitely be noticed about the split narratives for each character. The necessity of a seemingly out of place track like "Paramedic!" was extremely important in giving an authentic and representative sound for where the Bay Area native Killmonger was coming from. It's one thing to have a star-studded lineup of features like Black Hippy, SZA, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, and 2 Chainz for example. Features like that will only guarantee views. It's also a major responsibility to ensure the major talent that's acquired doesn't get squandered.

The in-house production crew at TDE made sure this did not happen. And as an added bonus, they gave preemptive shoutouts/looks to artists such as SOBxRBE, Mozzy, and Jorja Smith, not when they were at the peak of their ascension, but while they were in the stages of rising to stardom. By also incorporating African tribal sounds on tracks like "Redemption," TDE did a great job of mirroring the aesthetics of Black Panther, the film. This collaborative effort reminded us, not invented, what the standard of what a quality Original Soundtrack is supposed to sound like. Hopefully, Marvel/T.D.E./Ryan Coogler cemented a new trend of movie studios giving the reigns to a music label or collective to handle the duties of creating a whole soundtrack. The results of Black Panther the soundtrack and the movie should be proof enough that this is a successful and lucrative idea that should continue in the future.

Favorite tracks: Paramedic!, Seasons, I Am, King's Dead

JT: At this point, what else is there to say about this amazing cast of individuals formerly known as Top Dawg Entertainment? Everything they touch  always turns into gold and with their contribution towards The Black Panther soundtrack, they continue down their path of making quality music that sets them apart from the competition. The soundtrack received just as much hype as the motion picture did. Director Ryan Coogler did a great job of lending his trust towards TDE to create a body of work that is a representation of the film. Once you see the movie (hopefully you’ve seen it already) , you’ll recognize so much more of the connections between each character throughout the soundtrack. You can also recognized which song play well into the scenes of the movie. I just wished the movie could have incorporated more of the soundtrack sounds into the movie. What would’ve made the first fight scene between T’Challa & Killmonger so much more epic is if they had played King’s Dead in the background. Just imagine hearing the 2nd half of King’s Dead with Kendrick verse in the background while Killmonger is telling the people of Wakanda,“Is this your King” right before he threw T’Challa over the cliff. TDE did a hell of a great job with the guest Artist plaeements, especially when it came to showcasing the newer acts such as Mozzy, SOBxRBE, Jorja Smith, & Khalid. Even though Kendrick was all over the album, he still played his part in the background while letting the artist get their shine on. Paramedic is my favorite cut off the soundtrack. The sound is representation of the Bay Area and it’s plays an authentic part to describe where Killmonger was from. That made me more interested in wanting to hear what other music that group has out. Also with Kendrick’s actual tracks, each one sounds different from the last. What makes it better is how the songs don’t even like sound like throwaways off of DAMN. I hope that with TDE curating The Black Panther soundtrack that it brings back a trend of more artist curating movie soundtracks.

Favorite Tracks: X, I Am, Paramedic, King’s Dead, Seasons, Big Shot

Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap

Eyeless: For the amount of years that Nipsey Hussle has been in the rap game, it is and it isn't a shock for Victory Lap to be his first major record (via Atlantic) label release. It is a shock because of his prolific mixtape run and relevance for a decade plus. It is also not a shock because of how Nipsey carries himself. I watched the hour plus Rap Radar interview and could tell how much of a self-reliant, business savvy individual he was. Patience is key when it comes to developing something from the ground up and he made sure to adhere to this policy. "I'm a master to my faith, plus I'm the type of nigga to own the masters to my tape" was a sentiment that was echoed throughout Victory Lap, meaning that he didn't jump at any deal without doing a thorough vetting process of the contract. When a deal that was favorable to him on HIS TERMS became available, he took it.

The same careful and meticulous attention to detail was present when constructing Victory Lap, an album that'll surely make many Top 10 end-of-the-year lists and will be remembered well beyond 2018. Before we even get to the lyrical content, I gotta take a minute to appreciate the sonics of the album. Money Makin' Nip has an incredible ear for beats, a skill that should not be undervalued in the slightest. Paired with supernatural talents of MixedByAli, from the first track to the very last, Victory Lap just sounds crisp and refined. Listeners can tell how much time and dedication was put into creating the foundation of the album; nothing sounds cheap or rushed. A plate of freshly prepared filet mignon as opposed to a re-heated McDonald's burger.

I can't take credit for this analogy for the project but someone on Twitter said that Victory Lap sounds like a TED Talk over a Rick Ross beat selection, which is not meant to be slanderous towards anyone. What I took away from that statement was Nipsey was spittin' free game and dropping knowledge to all of the listeners. He's a street dude that imparts relatable wisdom to those within and outside the purview of the block. The weight of each bar had the impact of a seismic earthquake because of his lively delivery, controlled flow, and cadence which accentuates every point he is trying to make. This album fucking slaps. From the purest of hip-hop purists to grimiest of thugged out goons, there is something here to be appreciated by every hip-hop fan: passionate lyrics, ethical messages, motivational advice, impeccable production, and a cohesiveness as a whole project.

Favorite tracks: Rap Niggas, Young Niggas, Blue Laces 2, Hussle & Motivate

JT: It’s been a long time coming for Neighborhood Nip but after 5 years of patience and anticipation,  he finally dropped his debut album Victory Lap and I couldn’t be more satisfied at how everything turned out. Everything about this body of work feels organic, focused, strategized, & straight to the point. From the singles releases of Rap Niggas, Last Time That I Checc’d, and Dedication, to the interviews conducted through Rap Radar, Hot 97, or The Breakfast Club, etc.  I can say that Twitter was spot on with the analogy of Victory Lap sounding like TED Talk on Rick Ross beats. What I love the most about this album outside of the music slapping was the overall message Nipsey was pushing of starting from the bottom, building your way to the top, & becoming self-made. You can feel that aura all over the album everytime you press replay. When listening to records like Hussle and Motivate, Millions While You Young, Real Big, & Young Nigga, the sudden urge of getting up off your ass  and making something of yourself consumes you. Next Thing you know, you out here feeling like you can take over the world just because Nip said so and showed that it was possible. Personally for me, I think the chorus of  Dedication perfectly describes the tone of Victory Lap and what it stands for.

Dedication, hard work plus patience

The sum of all my sacrifice, I'm done waitin'

I'm done waitin', told you that I wasn't playin'

Now you hear what I been sayin'

Dedication

Between that and Kendrick Lamar completely bodying the beat, Dedication is one of my go-to records to play in order to keep myself motivated as im clocking into my day job. My favorite part is when Kendrick raps,  “I spent my whole life tryna make it, tryna chase it/ The cycle of a black man divided, tryna break it/ You take a loss? Shit, don't cry about it, just embrace it/ Minor setback for major comeback, that's my favorite.” I can feel and relate to those lines so much in life right now.  Nipsey’s storytelling as just as impactful as his overall theme and message on the album. His 3rd verse on Blue Laces 2 gives you the chills as Nipsey broke down the story of helping his homeboy after he got shot. Another story that stands out was on Young Nigga when Nip mentioned his older brother burying a hundred thousand in their backyard for about a year and when he dug it out, the money was molded. He said him, his sister, and his mothers were sitting in their living blow drying the money. That picture in my head of that is mind blowing and I can only imagine what everybody was feeling in that room. MixedByAli did an incredible job of mixing Victory Lap making sure that the sound of the album was crisp and refined. Victory Lap has proven to me that patience truly is key when it comes to creating a solid body of work. This album already shows me that it’s going to stand the test of time. Those 5 years of waiting on Victory Lap were worth it.

Favorite Tracks: Dedication, Rap Niggas, Hussle & Motivate, Blue Laces 2, Keys to The City 2, Real Big, Right Hand 2 God

 

Skyzoo - In Celebration of Us

Eyeless: There's nothing wrong with enjoying and being accepting of the latest trends in hip-hop; diversity and growth are all very important. I enjoy (some) of the newer waves but at heart, I'm an East Coast, boom-bap, hip-hop traditionalist. If you need a break from the polarizing evolutions of this fine genre, look no further than Skyzoo's 7th studio album, In Celebration of Us.

For those unfamiliar, Skyzoo is an underground New York rap legend who first gained notable recognition with his collab project with 9th Wonder titled Cloud 9: The 3 Day High in 2006. Ever since then, Sky's pen game has remained one of the most consistent of recent memory. He is a slick spitter with an intelligent mind that does not waste a single line or verse, giving it 100% effort with every project. A rapper's rapper who is a traditionalist when putting an emphasis on lyrics, but is not musty in the slightest when it comes to being a "traditionalist." On In Celebration of Us, Sky goes through the record having a backdrop perspective of his life story. His prior studio releases were autobiographical to an extent, but this project feels even more personal. He gives us access into his life while he walks us through the journey of his childhood to the present, juxtaposing it with current societal issues like the civil rights of a young black male.

Broad day like jumping out in the way

When one is jumping up outta the front and finding it's aim,

Or, divying a bag with who you're beside every day

And splitting points like you dotted your name,

'cause know that all of these green lives that used to be here,

Matter like these black lives that these blue lives shoot outta fear

Vivid storytelling has always been a strength of Skyzoo's, who does not half-heartedly paint a picture of life through his eyes on In Celebration of Us. Even if you've never listened to a whole project of his, start here. He sounds as fresh and energized as he did with his official debut more than a decade ago.

Favorite tracks: Forever in a Day, Heirlooms & Accessories, Crown Holder

2 Chainz- The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It

JT: 2 Chainz has become everybody’s favorite go-to rapper in the present day. He’s came a real long way from back in the day when he was known as Tity Boi (I still call him that LOL) and was a member of Playa’s Circle and dropped their bill Lil Duffle Bag Boy with Lil Wayne. These days you can find Chainz killing it on features, mixtapes, Ep’s, etc. So it wasn’t a surprise when he decided to pick back up from where he left off in 2017 by dropping a surprise 4 track EP  The Play Dont Care Who Makes It.  The EP was short yet sweet and right to the point. Real talk I cannot wait until it’s summer time so I can ride through Downtown Atlanta with the windows down blasting Lamborghini Doors. Picture this: you riding down 85/75 South through downtown Atlanta on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with Lamborghini Doors blasting with the drop top and you just so happen to see the city skyline. That my friends is what God wanted y’all.  Right after releasing of the EP, Chainz follows up with the announcement of his new album Rap or Go to the League.  Even though I'm a huge fan of Chainz & am always in awe of his Mixtapes & EP’s, for some reasons his album don't entirely get the same response from me. Don’t get me wrong  I LOVE it when Chainz is in album promo mode because the themes of his albums is always creative and the promo always keeps everybody anxious of what’s to come for the album release .

Favorite Tracks: Lamborghini Truck, Ok Bitch

Eyeless' Honorable Mentions:

SOBxRBE - GANGIN
Cozz - Effective

 

JT's Honorable Mentions:

SOBxRBE- GANGIN
SKYZOO- In Celebration of US
Cozz- Effected
Moneybagg Yo - 2 Heartless
G Herbo- Humble Beast Deluxe Edition
Blac Youngsta- 2.23

Black Oscars: the nominees
Shoutout Elena Winkel for the dope thumbnail! Follow her on Twitter for more work @lacheps.

Shoutout Elena Winkel for the dope thumbnail! Follow her on Twitter for more work @lacheps.

Award season is in full force right now and the 90th Academy Awards is this Sunday, so I thought it'd be appropriate for us to participate in the awards this year. You know, lend the academy the voice of a real one for a change. What we have here is the official, Black Oscars. It's lit!

"Well hell, what even are the Black Oscars?" Glad you asked colonizer! Essentially these are nominations for us and by us (us being black people). This doesn't necessarily mean the nominations will be limited to just black movies (which I'll explain exactly what that is, one day) or black actors; what it means is that these are the movies and actors that impacted us in the past year. These are OUR nominees and winners chosen by OUR academy because we lit. In a world where #OscarsSoWhite exists and Get Out is being overlooked by the old academy members, this is a much needed escape. The rules: The movie must have been for the culture or had cultural impact and been released between January 2017 to February 2018. So, let's get to it folks. Here are your nominees for the Black Oscars.

Aye Buddy Ass Went Crazy (Best Leading Actor)

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Chadwick Boseman, Marshall
Idris Elba, Molly's Game
James McAvoy, Split
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Go Crazy Shorty (Best Leading Actress)

Regina Hall, Girls Trip
Amandla Steinberg, Everything Everything
Mandy Moore, 47 Meters Down (this movie was lowkey lit af, check it out on Netflix)
Amy Adams, Arrival (yikes, we need more female-led movies)

Marvel

Marvel

Bro Decent As Hell (Best Supporting Actor)

Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther
Lil Rel, Get Out
Finn Wolfhard, It (the lil homie from It and Stranger Things had us weak)
Chris Pine, Wonder Woman
Joel Edgerton, Bright

Aight Lil Mama, I See You (Best Supporting Actress)

Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
Letitia Wright, Black Panther (Colonizer!)
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Zendaya, The Greatest Showman

Aye What's Buddy Name From Marvel? (Best Comic Book Actor)

Hugh Jackman, Logan
Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther
Michael Keaton, Spider-Man: Homecoming
Michael Fassbender, X-Men: Apocalypse
Forest Whitaker, Black Panther (Te powah of te Blak Pantha will now be scripped, eweh)

Shorty From Justice League Decent As Hell (Best Comic Book Actress)

Tessa Thompson, Thor: Ragnarok
Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
Dafne Keen, Logan (I-Con-Ic)
Danai Gurira, Black Panther
Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Aye G Wholetime, That Shit Looked Beautiful (Best Cinematography)

Baby Driver
Black Panther
47 Meters Down
Blade Runner 2049
Mudbound

Yeah They Ass Snapped (Best Director)

Jordan Peele, Get Out (#StayWoke)
Ryan Coogler, Black Panther
Andy Muschietti, It
Edgar Wright, Baby Driver
Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman

They Ass Was Flee As Hell (Best Costume Design)

It
Wonder Woman
Marshall
Detroit

We Love An Anthem (Best Original Soundtrack)

Black Panther: The Album
Baby Driver: Music From The Motion Picture
The Hitman's Bodyguard (Original Soundtrack Album)
Get Out (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Mudbound (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Whoever Wrote This Raw As Hell (Best Screenplay)

Get Out, Jordan Peele
Detroit, Mark Boal
Baby Driver, Edgar Wright
Black Panther, Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
It, Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga & Gary Dauberman

Universal

Universal

G This Damn Near The Best Thing I've Ever Seen (Best Picture)

Detroit
Baby Driver
It
Logan
One For The Culture (Best *Black* Picture)
Black Panther
Get Out
Girls Trip

No Lie, This Shit Ain't Just For Kids G (Outstanding Animated Movie)

Boss Baby
Coco
Captain Underpants
Despicable Me 3

You Tryna See Black Panther For The 3rd Time? (Best Comic Book Movie)

Wonder Woman
Thor: Ragnarok
Logan
Black Panther
Power Rangers

Universal

Universal

That Shit Was Scary As Hell (Best Horror Movie)

Split
It
Get Out
47 Meters Down
Insidious: The Last Key

 

That Shit Was Lit Af! (Most Entertaining Film)

John Wick: Chapter 2
The Fate of the Furious
Girls Trip
Jumanji
Power Rangers

Bruh, I'm Weak! (Best Comedy)

Girls Trip
Jumanji
Fist Fight
Boo 2: A Madea Halloween

Screen Gems

Screen Gems

Aye, That Shit Was Trash Fam (Worst Movie Of The Year)

All Eyez On Me
Boo 2: A Madea Halloween
Proud Mary :(
Insidious: The Last Key
Kidnapped (Damn what they on with Halle?)
The Belko Experiement
Bright

And that’s all folks! Your official Black Oscar nominees are here. We got some deep thought to put into this so catch the winners this Sunday! Comment/Tweet/Share your thoughts on the actual nominees! A special shout out to my brain trust panel for helping narrow down the nominees. Y'all the real MVP's.

Seven things Wakanda teaches us
Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

Let’s start by saying salute to the cast & crew of the phenomenal movie, Black Panther. Not only did it sell out theaters across the world, it is exceeding expectations of the predicted $120 million opening weekend with it currently heading towards $230+ million! If you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, what are you waiting on? Black Panther and the people of Wakanda exemplified Black Excellence in many ways. There are also many lessons throughout the movie that we can relate to and apply to our everyday lives and communities.

Trust & Loyalty

In the movie, T’Chaka, T'Challa's father, says “You’re going to struggle so surround yourself with people you trust.” The people closest to you have to be people you can trust, have loyalty with, and support you no matter what while you’re going through a new stage in your life.

Self-Determination is key to achieve

After T’Challa becomes the new King of Wakanda, he is still a little uneasy about how to manage his new responsibility. Nakia tells him “Only you can decide what kind of king you want to be.” You have the final say in how you choose to sustain any role or situation in your life.

Raise up the next generation to come

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

T’Challa goes through a ritual to see his ancestors and see his father upon becoming King, during the visit, his father says to him “A man who has not prepared his children for his death has failed as a father.” Preparing your children for what life brings to them is vital for them to succeed beyond you being here.

Never forget your history and the ones that came before you

Before Erik Killmonger dies, he says he doesn’t want to be saved, in fact, he states “Nah, just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. Because they knew death was better than bondage." Despite Killmonger being portrayed as the villain, he was about his people and not the colonizers.

We must continue to advance

First of all, can we give it up for Shuri. She is the brilliant, intelligent, and funny younger sister of T'Challa. She may just be the smartest woman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Shuri states “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved” as she had enhanced the Black Panther Suit with the ability to store damage taken to it as power to be reflected. Shoutout to the mastermind behind the lab that showed that technology advancement is beyond what we could imagine, and it only gets better.

Even when you’re underestimated, keep striving

If you’ve seen the movie, I hope you stayed for the post credit scenes. Wakanda is full of resources that can help the rest of the world. T’Challa says "More connects us than separates us, but in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one tribe." Later in that post-credit scene another man says back to him “What does a nation of farmers have to offer the rest of the world?”. Just because they don’t see what you have to offer and underestimate your capabilities, that doesn’t mean you stop going after the goals you’ve set. Keep Grindin.

Never be afraid to be sure of who you are and don’t allow others to validate you

T’Challa and Nakia are having a conversation and he tells her "If you weren't so stubborn you would make a great queen." Nakia responds, "I would make a great queen because I'm stubborn; if that's what I wanted." She is a strong woman that knows her worth and knows that she can get what she want without being docile!

Although a fictional country, there are many messages that the people of Wakanda give throughout the movie. We must continue to keep lifting others as we climb and stay true to who we are. What lesson did you take away from Black Panther?

Lastly, Wakanda Forever!

Random Acts of Podcast Ep.171: She is my ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK

On this episode of @RAOPodcast Amp & Devin chop it up about watching porn on Valentines Day, black Super heroes, Frank Ocean finessin his fans, Deray swag surfin in a Dashiki and a ton more other topics.

Black Panther soundtrack review
Photo by Joe Pugliese

Photo by Joe Pugliese

The anticipation for the release of Black Panther is filling up my soul.  Despite my people showing their exceptionally yet excessive support through numerous threads, think-pieces, and alleged rules (i say this loosely) towards watching the movie, My excitement for Black Panther hasn’t been altered and has withstood the test of goofy behavior all around.

At first I didn’t know what was to become of the Black Panther soundtrack.  It was almost about an afterthought of mines. That is until I heard the first single, “All the Stars” from the two top heavyweights of TDE, Kendrick Lamar and SZA. Next up sometime after was the second single “King’s Dead,” with Kendrick, Jay Rock, & Future. After that release, it had me wondering if whether or not TDE was about to bless us with a secret Black Hippy project that was disguised as the Black Panther soundtrack.  Not only was King’s Dead the second single, but is also serving as the first single off Jay Rock’s next upcoming Album. Personally I think that was a smart marketing move from TDE, but that’s neither here nor there.  As soon as the news dropped that Kendrick and Top Dawg were going to be the curators for the soundtrack, the ideas of what’s to come for the soundtrack started clicking.

It was dope to me seeing a possible new trend that was ahead of artist curating movie soundtracks. Not too long after the announcement for Black Panther, more news was presented that rapper Future was going to be curator the Super Fly soundtrack. I’m very interested to see how this is going to be pulled off, especially since also he’s due for another Solo project release.  It’s been awhile since we’ve came across curated movie soundtracks. There have been amazing curated movie soundtracks that were created for us such as original 1989 Batman, Purple Rain, The Bodyguard, American Gangsta, Waiting to Exhale, 8 Mile, & Get or Die Tryin. Probably the most notable comparison to Kendrick and Black Panther was with Prince and the original Batman soundtrack . The story was that director Tim Burton was a fan of Prince and Warner Bros wanted Prince to make a contribution to the soundtrack. After watching about half-hour of the film, he was inspired enough to create a 10 track project. Like with Prince, Black Panther director Ryan Cooger was a fan of Kendrick’s music.

At first, Kendrick was going to only contribute a few songs but then after watching a portion of the film, he was inspired to create the soundtrack. The main thing I love so much about TDE is their process on creating music. Even after coming off two of the most successfully commercial albums, DAMN and CTRL, you can never really know what direction they’re going to take with the music. They set their own trends and follow their own waves. Never had to really follow certain Pop culture blueprints in order to be successful. They always stay true to themselves and the music they create. So I just knew they’re really going to come with it for Black Panther.

After further listening and living with the soundtrack, i realized this isn’t wasn’t a hidden Black Hippy album. It turns out that it was actually disguised somewhat as Kendrick Lamar’s playlist. It’s like its a Kendrick album but its also not a Kendrick album if you’re understanding what I’m saying. Minus the actual records credited to Kendrick such as Black Panther, All the Stars, King’s Dead, & Big Shot, you can hear and feel his presence all throughout the album. You’ll hear him in the background vocals on songs like I Am, on the hook, or with a bridge such as Opps, Paramedic, Redemption, etc. What made Kendrick’s appearance on the soundtrack the most unique was not only by making us hear and feel his presence on the album, but he also left available room for the newer artists like  Mozzy, SOB x RBE, Jorja Smith, & Saudi to shine on their. He went as far as to give all of their credit on the track-list.

I love when big powerhouses like TDE are still out here recognizing the up and coming talent and help give them a high platform to help them perform their music.  Mozzy and SOB x RBE are really about to make some big noise this year because of this big look given Kendrick. Them guys deserve it so much. I was just blown away by the record,  Paramedic, which is my number one favorite standout record off the soundtrack. Not only did I love that good ole New school West Coast shit talking music  but it was also the first time in forever to hear Kendrick on a West Coast style beat. The last time I heard him on a west coast sounding record was during the To Pimp a Butterfly Era. Also I was blown away listening to another stand out, “I am’ with Jorja Smith. Im going to check out more of her music so I can play catch up. The first time I heard her was through Drake’s playlist project, More Life.

The TDE crew all did their thing per usual throughout the album. X is another banger for me that you know you cant wait to hear at one of these upcoming festivals this summer. I just get that concert feeling for it. Its felt great to hear from our boy Schoolboy Q. He sounded refreshed and cocky as ever. When he said “Nigga, December been good to me/ Not even Kendrick could humble me,” I really felt that in my spirit. It felt like he as giving us a taste of whats to come for his next album coming out this year with his raps and sounds. But Q and Saudi’s raps were no match for our favorite rapper 2 Chainz as he came in like a thief in the night and stole the entire show. Khalid & Swae Lee was an unexpected combo i didn’t see coming with The Ways but both of them boys did their thing.

At first when I heard Big Shot with Kendrick & Travis, I didn’t know what to think about it since he was partially using the beginning of his New Freezer verse as the hook. But as time went on, that record grew into one of my favorites. Kendrick & Travis are an odd combo but the production by Cardo Got Wangs helped create their element.  I don’t know which Collaborative EP I would want between Kendrick & Travis or Kendrick & Weekend because so far when Kendrick has worked with either of these guys their 2 for 2.

For the most part, I enjoyed all of the album. The only song I didn’t entirely like was Opps with Vince Staples. Bloody Waters was another stand out record from TDE’s own Ab Soul, Anderson Paak & James Blake. Soul sound refreshed and hungry as ever on the beat. Paak’s presence was missed. We havent heard from him in so long. His also has a new album coming  sometime year thats going to include production from Dr Dre. The deeper that you dive into the Black Panther soundtrack, the clearer the theme becomes to the listener.

At the start of the soundtrack with the self titled track Black Panther, Kendrick is rapping from the Perspective of T’Challa , the protagonist of the movie. Midway through the soundtrack when we get to  Paramedic SOB x RBE, Kendrick the says in the beginning “I am Killmonger, who is the antagonist of the movie.  Then on  King’s Dead, Kendrick is then rapping  on the 2nd half of the song from the perspective Killmonger. Kendrick then present a duality at the end of Seasons with Mozzy, Sjava, & Reason where he says, “I am T'Challa/ I am Killmonger/ One world, one God, one family / Celebration.” According to the notations on Rap Genius, what was defined by that statement was that both in unity T’Challa & Killmonger are both hero and villain and that it served as a reminder that when it’s all said and done, people must remain united as a family and rise above conflict both internally and externally. Look here man, even after typing that last sentence it gives me the chills. I cannot wait to see this movie and see how which songs will not be used but also will be transitioned in the movie.

Black Panther soundtrack serves as a successful project for TDE. What makes the album sound so great is the production. The production doesn’t entirely sound based out of Africa or sounds futuristic. It gives us visual of Wakanda in the present world. I loved so much that the records created sounded nothing like Kendrick’s last studio album, DAMN. It’s also a reflection of the artist point of view of the world while using the soundtrack as a means to explain that view. Im excited to see the movie and see which songs are going to get placement in the actual movie. There’s just some songs that I can already see fitting certain scenes throughout the movie. By the time this feature releases, Black Panther will have already been released and on its own way to break all kinds of records.

Soundtracks for the people: an open letter to film studios

One of the most anticipated films of recent memory from the Marvel pantheon is quickly approaching. In the eyes of many, Black Panther has already transcended superhero film status into the heights of something greater. I'm in the camp of "let's reserve full judgement until seeing the whole movie first" but that's just my opinion.

With the strategic planning of releasing the movie in the heart of Black History Month, paired with a stellar cast of Black Excellence, Black Panther has already proved to be a moment that'll be remembered for quite some time. Shortly after the new year, to further solidify the hype surrounding this blockbuster, Marvel Studios announced that Top Dawg Entertainment will "curate and produce" the soundtrack to Black Panther.

It is a major look for a music label that's quickly forming into a serious business conglomerate, but the look is trifold.

First: the fans and the consumers. The E-streets have been clamoring for an official Black Hippy project the moment Say Wassup hit YouTube. We're not getting that just yet; but the Core Four, plus SZA, with additional features from The Weeknd, Anderson .Paak and others, a TDE inspired compilation will suffice.

Second: the motion picture studio itself. It'll be an interesting case study to see how things will play out with the Black Panther soundtrack. Because of the star power on the soundtrack and the high anticipation of the film, it should be near if not atop the music charts for the first week. What about after the movie is released? Will there be an increased spike in streaming numbers because "Casual Music Fan X" really liked a song from a scene in the movie and had to check out the soundtrack? We'll have to wait and see.

I don't know the specifics and numbers behind the deal that Marvel Studios made with TDE, but it must have been a mutually beneficial financial deal for both parties involved. Some original soundtracks in the past have flopped without much fanfare. Not investing much stock into 'em won't make or break the success of the actual film, but it can accentuate the quality perception of the film as a whole...if done correctly.

Third and most importantly: the music labels and collectives. Being attached to a major motion picture in this way can heighten the awareness of a crew that's been grinding in the industry for quite some time. Of course, TDE has been well-known by hip-hop fans, but now that the Black Panther soundtrack is public, the full attention of media consumers in the mainstream and casual fans of music will be captured.

If King's Dead and Pray for Me are any indicators for the rest of the album, this could wind up being one of the greatest soundtracks to a movie ever. Exploiting a widespread opportunity by sliding in less notable, far from less talented, artists can be considered a huge win. By giving free reign to curate, TDE has included the up-and-coming West Coast representatives, Mozzy and SOB X RBE, on the final tracklist. Giving maximum exposure for those that are deserving is paying it forward at it's finest.

Lazily slapping together random pop stars and trendy rappers on a track can ultimately create a mess. An entire album of this? A disjointed and unlistenable piece of shit. To avoid such a problem, more film studios should follow the blueprint of Marvel Studios, by allowing its director and visionary Ryan Coogler to handpick a singular, successful, music label to curate an entire project. Too many outside hands can alter an intended purpose. Coogler has been "a massive Kendrick fan" for many years, according to his NPR interview.  In the same conversation, the Black Panther director talks about the organic bond that was built between himself and TDE, spawned from a mutual respect of their artforms. It wasn't just a forged relationship created by label executives. It was an authentic collaboration.

"The movie's not set in 1910, or the 1960s when Black Panther first came out — it's set in today," said Sounwave, TDE in-house producer who worked on the soundtrack. "There's 'today' moments happening in the movie, so we want the whole soundtrack to sound like that too. I think it was a perfect marriage for us to blend the two worlds."

Movie studios and even independent filmmakers should entrust music collectives to create and curate soundtracks, front to back. That doesn't mean every single song that's recorded needs to make it into the film. Rather, certain standouts could make an appearance in the movie, but most importantly for everyone involved, additional acclaim can be garnered with a soundtrack done correctly. The idea of cohesiveness from a singular label handling these duties will present the best chance of success. It can also help build anticipation for a movie.

In mid-January, for the 1972 reboot of the legendary film Superfly, it was announced that Sony Pictures have plans to tap the creative mind of Future to not only be an executive curator of the soundtrack but ALSO a producer on the actual film. Handling both of these responsibilities could create a dynamic that could enhance both projects because of the symbiotic nature.

With the impending Black Panther/TDE soundtrack and concept of the Superfly duality for Future, I'm hopeful that this is the start of a trend that'll stick around for years to come. Rightfully putting artists and music collectives of the most popular genre in the world in positions of control and power is a great thing to see. Just think of the endless possibilities of an authentic relationship between hip-hop, RnB, and major motion picture studios. "The ceiling is the roof."

Both Sides of The Game Ep. XXXVIII: "Aus @ Night"

On this episode of BSTOG, Giles, unable to make it to the studio, gave Austin the keys to the podcast. Listen to Aus @ Night as Aus talks about Quincy Jones' 22 Girl friends. Being in a 6 Year relationship and the age ol saying "If you didn't want me at my Blade Trinity, don't take me at my Black Panther.

New Kendrick Lamar & SZA joint on TDE-curated 'Black Panther' soundtrack

Start your Friday off right with new music from Kendrick Lamar & SZA with “All The Stars.” off the Black Panther soundtrack. As usual the duo come through and kill the record. Kendrick and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith will also be in charge of curating the entire soundtrack.

TDE has already owned 2017 with DAMN and CTRL alone and it appears they’re not letting up in 2018.  Not only am I looking forward to the new Black Panther soundtrack, but I can’t wait to see what’s to come from one of the top labels in the game right now.

Black Panther comes out in theaters on February 16th.