Aesthetic Response | Top Dawg Entertainment – Black Panther: The Album

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This album dropped on February 9th this year. According to Focus this shit is “dope af,” but I haven’t heard it yet, so we’ll see what he’s talking about soon I guess. I’m a pretty big fan of Top Dawg Entertainment and Kendrick Lamar, so I think he probably knows what he’s talking about. I haven’t seen the movie yet. Is it good? Should I see that shit? I don’t really watch movies… I can’t remember the last super hero movie I watched… I keep meaning to watch Logan. I saw all the other X-Men movies. Them shits is actually pretty hard.

Goddamn that trailer is awesome. I gotta see that movie…

Black Panther performed by Kendrick Lamar produced by Kendrick Lamar, Sounwave, CuBeatz & Matt Schaeffer

Black Panther

Alright it’s starting now. Here we go. NEW KUNG FU KENNY. Okay, he’s goin’ in about bein’ the KING of everything he does. He’s actually rapping from the perspective of THE black panther, T’Challa Udaku. This is fucking awesome. OOHHH shit. I love the percussion. I feel like I’m in Africa right now. I feel like I’m listening to the movie. I guess that’s the point of a soundtrack. This shit is mad cinematic. Nick’s dumbass was right. This shit is dope af. A

All the Stars performed by Kendrick Lamar & SZA produced by Sounwave & Al Shux

All the Stars

This was the first single released for the album. It’s alright I guess. I mean, I like the song, but it’s more Pop than Hip Hop. SZA stole the show. Kendrick’s verse wasn’t bad though. He just didn’t blow me away like I usually expect him to. It feels like SZA’s the lead artist here. The production is fantastic tho. Sounwave & Al Shux did a great job. The way the previous track transitions into this one is really fuckin’ dope too. B-

performed by ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz & Saudi produced by Sounwave & !llmind

Why isn’t Kendrick credited as an artist on this song? He’s the first voice you hear. I guess it doesn’t really matter… Anyway, I’m not familiar with this Saudi guy, but he sounds pretty fuckin’ awesome singing the first verse. There’s a shit ton of autotune, but I don’t give a fuck. It sounds good. ScHoolboy Q’s verse was cool too, but 2 Chainz kinda stole the show in my opinion. He killed that final verse. He didn’t do the signature “2 CHAAIIINZ” yell before he started rapping. He hasn’t been doing that lately. Kendrick did a great job with the hook too. This is definitely a standout song. Shit is dope af. A+

The Ways performed by Khalid & Swae Lee produced by Sounwave, Kendrick Lamar & BADBADNOTGOOD

Oooh shit… This might end up being my favorite song on the album. I’m not familiar with this Khalid guy. He kinda sounds like Frank Ocean. Kinda. The production on this album is fucking fantastic so far. Goddamn. There are some background vocals from Kendrick. Swae Lee did his thing. Okay, yeah, THIS shit is fire. I definitely fuck with this one. It’s dope af. A+

Opps performed by Vince Staples & Yugen Blakrok produced by Sounwave & Ludwig Göransson

Okay, this shit is about to be dope af. I don’t know who the fuck Yugen Blakrok is, but Ludwig Göransson is one of my favorite producers of all time. I have not heard Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory album yet. I should probably get on that… Anyway, this song is dope. I was a bit turned off by the pumping bassline at first because I don’t really like Electronic music like that, but it grew on me pretty quickly. Vince Staples fucking killed his verse. Kendrick did an okay job too. I love how Vince managed to slip a Sprite reference into his verse.

Life hit a nigga with the lemons-limelight, but at night we still committing crimes.

He has absolutely no shame for his sponsorship, and that’s exactly how it should be. The hook kinda sucks. The “YOU’RE DEAD TO ME” line that keeps repeating is pretty fuckin’ annoying. That Yugen Blakrok chick stole the show. She slaughtered it. I gotta look out for more work from her in the future. This shit is dope. B

I Am performed by Jorja Smith produced by Sounwave & Kendrick Lamar

I love the dark production on this track. I’ve never listened to any of Jorja Smith’s music before, but this shit is nice. This album is putting me onto a lot of new artists that I never would’ve checked out before. I wonder if she usually sings over dark production like this. Sounwave is the real star of this album so far. These beats are all top notch. This shit is dope. B+

Paramedic! performed by SOB X RBE produced by DJ Dahi, Sounwave & CuBeatz

I’ve never heard of these SOB X RBE motherfuckers either. Let’s see… It looks like there are 4 members: Slimmy B, Lui G, DaBoii & Yhung T.O. That’s the order in which they rap. There are some uncredited vocals from Zacari & Kendrick right at the beginning. This shit is HARD. Okay, I DEFINITELY fuck with this track already. I love Lui G’s melodic delivery. This shit is dope af. A

Bloody Waters performed by Ab-Soul, Anderson .Paak & James Blake produced by Sounwave, Kendrick Lamar & Robin Hannibal

Okay, this shit is about to be dope af. It’s starting now. The vocals from James Blake right at the beginning are amazing. Anderson .Paak comes in as soon as the beat drops. He sounds perfect over this bouncy, tribal percussion. Ab-Soul is killin’ this first verse. The way some words are censored sounds really cool.

It’s warfare; is war fair? Nope.

This is fucking awesome. I love Ab-Soul. This is probably gonna end up being my favorite song on the album. This beat is phenomenal. The percussion all over this album sounds really tribal. Goddamn. Soulo murdered his second verse.

Kept it clean ridin’ dirty, jury would’ve gave me thirty
Herbie love buggin’ out; hit the target blindfolded

I love that part. The outro vocals from James Blake sound very angelic. This shit is dope af. A+

King’s Dead performed by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake produced by Mike WiLL Made It, Teddy Walton, Sounwave, 30 Roc, Twon Beatz & Axlfolie

tumblr_p2h1d2rrxt1wnmhg7o1_1280

I believe this was the second single from this album. It’s dope. Future ruined it though. Thank God DJ Focus was able to mix a version without him. I don’t know what the fuck Future thought he was doing. I’ve never been a fan of him though. The song has a really great level of energy, but it loses all its momentum as soon as Future opens his mouth. Kendrick thankfully brings it all back when the beat switches up at the end. That nigga snapped. The music video is dope af too. C+

Redemption Interlude performed by Zacari produced by Hykeem Carter & Kendrick Lamar

This track is actually very pretty sonically. I love Zacari’s soft vocals. The distorted vocals from Hykeem Carter sound really cool too. This is a dope interlude. B

Redemption performed by Zacari & Babes Wodumo produced by The Arcade, Teddy Walton, Scribz Riley & Aaron Bow

I really like the production on this track. The fast paced percussion gives it kind of a Dancehall feel. I’m not familiar with this Babes Wodumo person, but she sounds pretty good. I’m not crazy about the call & response part.

EVERYBODY SAY “KIKIRIKIKIKI”

It’s not a bad song, but it’s not the kinda thing I’d ever listen to again. I kinda enjoyed it though. It’s just not for me I guess. C+

Seasons performed by Sjava, Mozzy & Reason produced by Sounwave, Kendrick Lamar & Frank Dukes

Okay, this shit is fucking incredible. The production is dramatic, but not in a corny way, and the entire first verse from Sjava is performed in Zulu. That motherfucker sang his ass off. I’m not familiar with Mozzy or Reason, but they both had very cinematic verses. Mozzy’s voice is perfect for this beat.

I love all of my people
I’m in the slums with all of my people
They tryna tell us that we all equal
We get no justice, so it ain’t peaceful

Reason slaughtered the final verse.

Catch a case and they not gon’ forgive ya
White skin, you be out before Christmas
Shit, auntie missed eight of those days
Tears from me, had to pray those days
Had to slave those days
Shit, we had to hit up a couple hood giveaways those days
Thank God for every inch that he gave us
Thank God for everything ’cause he made us

This shit is dope af. A+

Big Shot performed by Kendrick Lamar & Travis Scott produced by Cardo, CuBeatz, Sounwave & Matt Schaeffer

Damn, this beat is dope af. The hook from Kendrick could be better. He recycled that opening line from his verse on New Freezer by Rich the Kid. The way he’s yelling makes it sound like he’s struggling to stay on beat. It gets better once is actual verse starts though. Travis Scott actually sounded fantastic on his verse. This shit is dope. B

Pray for Me performed by The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar produced by Frank Dukes & Doc McKinney

drama-club-clipart-1

This is the third and latest single from the album. It’s okay I guess. I personally find it a bit too Pop-ish. I think it’s a really well produced track tho. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’ll be shocked if this isn’t the song that plays during the credits. It’s very cinematic. The Weeknd’s vocals are fine, and the beat’s decent. Kendrick did his thing. There’s just not any replay value in it for me. It’s not bad tho. C+


Final thoughts

This album is extremely good. It’s as good as an album can be without being great. I would’ve liked to hear more artists that are actually signed to TDE, such as Lance SkiiiWalker, Isaiah Rashad & SiR, but I think Kendrick & Top Dawg did a great job curating a cinematic collection of songs that follow the Black Panther theme. It’s a very cohesive project. There’s a certain tribal vibe that flows throughout the album. Again, it’s a borderline great album.

Favorite Song: Bloody Waters
Least Favorite Song: Pray for Me

B


Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album

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