This all star line up come together on the Black Panther Album to announce the King’s Dead.
As Black Panther is still very new there’s no spoilers here. But definitely get yourself down to the cinema ASAP because the film is spectacular. This track features in the film without the vocals at different points. Within the film, the track offers a contrast to the more apparent blend of Afrocentric styled music but still fit perfectly within the landscape. Also if you pay attention to Kendrick’s last verse you will pick up on some of the themes within the film.
Now enough on Black Panther. The song taken in isolation is still a vibe. It’s not necessarily an out and out banger, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it travelled well across radio, tv and in clubs. It should gain some notoriety just because of the unique blend of artists on the track. Whilst Jay Rock and Kendrick are label mates, making collaboration expected and Future being a fellow rapper make his inclusion understandable, but James Blake adds a unique dynamic. Jay Rock provides the first verse, Kendrick provides the hook and last verse, James Blake offers some light supporting vocals and Future’s verse comes in the middle of all of this.
Kendrick, as he seems to always do, steals the show, only highlighting his effortless star power. The song feels like a Kendrick Lamar track, likely down to him providing the hook and being the voice we hear the most. Of course, he offers a stellar performance showing he is still in form, even after having recently released an album. Jay Rock starts off the track in impressive form providing a very lively first verse, which we don’t typically see from him. Beyond his energy, he has bars and a variety of flows on this one. When it comes to James Blake’s portion there’s not much to say, he offers a quick interlude into the final verse that spans two lines.
There’s a reason I didn’t just break this down in order and it’s because of Future. Future has the second verse but offers the most lacklustre performance on the track. His whole verse sounds phoned in as if he just wanted to get paid for his feature. Now Future may not always be the most lyrical of artists but he knows how to wrap, create standout verses and write exceptionally well. With his track record what he offers on King’s Dead is very sub par.
Last but not least, the visuals. Directed by Dave Free & Jack Begert, the video has a very interesting style. It does a lot of cutting between scenes juxtaposing typically “hood” locales and activities with scenes of white corporate America. All of this within some excellently selected locations, fun cinematic shots alongside a few hip-hop video tropes. This all melds into an extremely interesting visual experience to compliment the unique track.