Marvel Studios' Black Panther won't just showcase some of the best actors working today, but also some of the best musicians. It was announced back in January that rapper Kendrick Lamar would curate the film's entire soundtrack—but it turns out that wasn't the plan all along.
Two tracks have been released already: "All The Stars" by Lamar and SZA, and "Pray For Me" by The Weekend and Lamar. Out of the project's 14 songs, Lamar is directly featured in five of them, but it wasn't always going to be that way.
Speaking with NPR, director Ryan Coogler stated that the rapper was originally supposed to have a more limited role with the soundtrack.
"At first, he was just going to do a few songs for the film, and then he came in and watched quite a bit of the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it," he said.
Coogler collaborator Ludwig Göransson handled the instrumental score, but the director said the composer did a phenomenal job of weaving Lamar's music into the orchestral bits of the film. "I can't wait for people to hear the music on that album, man," said Coogler.
Marvel also gave a great deal of creative control to Top Dawg Entertainment, the record label behind the hip-hop-inspired sountrack. This move makes a lot of sense to co-music producer Sounwave who said:
"I think it's only right. The movie's not set in 1910, or the 1960s when Black Panther first came out — it's set in today. 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."
Schoolboy Q, Jorja Smith, and Khalid are a few of the other artists involved with the movie's music. You can listen to the songs on Spotify now.
Black Panther retracts its vibranium claws on Feb. 16.