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?
And particularly when it assembles such an intriguing musical cast: big names – the Weeknd – Vince Staples – Anderson.Paak – alongside relative unknown artists Mozzy – Babes Wodumo – SOB x RBE and South African vocalist Sjava singing in Zulu.
Moreover if you believe that Lamar is at the forefront of an impressive renaissance in hip-hop and R&B – a confluence of high-altitude artistry and righteous sociopolitical anger that harks back to the revered era that was bookended by the arrival of psychedelic soul and the rise of disco – an era in which soundtracks to films that expanded black representation in commercial cinema had an important part to play – then perhaps Black Panther is his Superfly – his Shaft.