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Kendrick Lamar & Co : Black Panther The Album

With rap royalty representing Wakanda’s own king, there were significant expectations to be met, and thankfully these are obliterated within the opening minutes. 

SZA’s input on ‘All The Stars’ makes it one of the most commercially appealing, while ‘X’, featuring Schoolboy Q and 2 Chainz, is old school rap at its absolute best.
 
‘Opps’ is experimental madness done right, with a heavy bass line driving Lamar, Vince Staples and Yugen Blackrok doing what they do best. The grungy guitar and synth-work of ‘I Am’ is perfectly contrasted by singer Jorja Smith’s smooth soulful touch, while SOB X RBE gets the chance to go toe-to-toe against Lamar on ‘Paramedic!’.
 
The ensembles keep getting bigger and better, with ‘Bloody Waters’ bringing together Ab-Soul, James Blake and Anderson .Paak, before Jay Rock, Future and Blake again join in on ‘King’s Dead’. Lamar’s verse in the latter is his best work on the album.
 
‘Redemption’ begins with a slow interlude before the fast Latin-inspired bass kicks in, with singer Zacari and rapper Babes Wodumo (one of five South African artists to feature on the soundtrack) spitting in her native tongue. ‘Pray For Me’ is borderline cliché but an awesome closer from The Weeknd.
 
9/10