The entertainment industry is need of a hero. Homogeny has infected everything. Music has become the very definition of cookie cutter from synth-heavy pop songs about shallow romantic interludes to rap songs about cars and female anatomy. Every film in the theater is a regurgitation of the one before it, be it a CGI-laden cartoon, a remake nobody asked for, or yet another installment of a franchise reaching double digits. Corporate control of entertainment has strangled diversity and meaning. Yet, from within that very system, a voice calls out from within the gears of the machine. A movement has started, one that is both in the world but not of the world.
Within the music industry has come Kendrick Lamar, a Molotov cocktail of spiritual introspection and layered meaning to a genre that has stagnated into recreating spastically repetitive odes to materialism for the last decade or so. Kendrick’s artistry never disappoints, marrying both the radical and respectable together. His songs have been favorites of both the Black Lives Matter and Presidents. Like Dylan or Springsteen before him, Kendrick has become a voice of a generation that will resonate for generations.
As such, it makes all the sense in the world that he would be a major component of the Black Panther soundtrack. The latest addition of the monstrous Marvel movie machine is proving to be a phenomenon as buzz continues to build. The titular character is T’Challa, the king/superpowered protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The film boasts a who’s who of the most prominent black filmmakers of today and is representative of black artistry and strength as well as a manifesto towards progress and quality in entertainment. It is no wonder Kendrick wants in.