The South African Artists on the Black Panther Soundtrack

Yeah, you’ve seen Black Panther 3 times already, but have you listened to the soundtrack? It features some of SA’s top talent alongside Top Dawg Entertainment’s best. Sthembelo Dlamini breaks down the tracks by the South African artists so your ears know what to expect.

 

 

Have you seen black panther yet? If not then you’re racist. No, it doesn’t matter that you’re black, you’re still segregating yourself from a really good time.

 

Jokes aside, the movie really was worth the wait and the accompanying soundtrack is just as brilliant as the film itself. Carefully curated by literally the hottest black artists in the world right now; Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment Director in Chief Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith, the soundtrack itself balances between spotlighting relatively unknown talent with sprinkles of household names like The Weeknd and Schoolboy Q. Kendrick Lamar makes vocal appearances himself on just about every song, leading the narrative progression of the soundtrack in a fashion we’ve all become very familiar with in his previous albums. This time, however, the narrative follows the plot of the film and instead of focusing on himself, there are moments where he provides perspective from both the main protagonist and antagonist in the film at different moments throughout the soundtrack. Amazing.

 

The main focus of this review, however, is the list of South African artists that can be found on the soundtrack. With one, in particular, becoming an overnight sensation for black people everywhere and a meme back here at home.

 

Starting things off on the 3rd track, the opening verse of the song called “X” (pronounced ten) is the boy known as Saudi. Formally known as Melodrome, Saudi is a trap rapper from Soweto and a member of the Ambitious Entertainment record label. This man is known for his nonchalant lyrics about drug use and sipping lean and he’s not shy to tell you exactly what he does with his money. His verse on this particular beat is basically child’s play as he transitions flawlessly between isiZulu and English. I don’t even know how many times I repeated this track before I made it to track 4.

 

Saudi. Source: Instagram

 

 

Next, we have a name that is known on the underground but was mostly unknown to the SA mainstream before this, Yugen Blakrok. Born in Johannesburg and based in Europe, Yugen is an emcee with bars harder than most mainstream rappers still plying their trade within our borders. It’s no mistake that she’s paired up on track 5 with a rapper equally as lethal as Vince Staples. I’d go as far as saying she stands out more in terms track than Staples as well.

 

Yugen Blakrok. Photo by Diego Frei. Source: Instagram

 

 

Next, we have a lady who needs absolutely no introduction to the Durban massive at all. Babes Wodumo is a household name across most of SA and is known for being the undisputed Queen of Gqom. She brings her high-level energy on the track Redemption alongside California vocalist Zacari. This is my least favourite track on the soundtrack because once you listen to this track just one time, Babes Wodumo and her repetitive lyrics find a home in your mind and live there for the next few days. That being said, the amount of hate she received back at home for supposedly ‘embarrassing’ us on an international level is completely unfair. If you have seen the movie then you are aware that of one of her biggest tracks plays in the background of one of the scenes. Guys, please stop hating because while you’re busy laughing at “Kiki Rikiki” my sister is busy cashing cheques without you.

 

 

Finally, we have my favourite track on the soundtrack by a long long way. S’java, another Ambitious Entertainment artist provides the first verse and the hook of the track Seasons alongside US rappers Mozzy and Reason. S’java another KZN born artist who is quite obviously highly influenced by Maskandi music. He sing/raps most of his verse in isiZulu and talks about the hardships of being a black artist who hasn’t made it into the mainstream well into his 30’s, and how people back home tell him to give up on his silly boyhood dreams and grow up. As a black creative, it’s easy to relate with the hardship of being brought up in post-Apartheid South Africa, where you’re encouraged to compete with white kids and pursue careers our elders never had a chance to even dream about. (Note: Spoilers ahead!) Being a creative is definitely one of those things and it’s so fitting that the track comes at a moment in the soundtrack where Eric Killmonger explains his own story on how he had to endure being a black kid growing up in the States.

Yes, you’ve seen the news, there are are a few successful black people in the States but for a majority of the rest, they have to ENDURE being black and grow up in a reality you have absolutely no control over.

 

S’java. Source: Instagram

 

And that’s it, man. I’d like to encourage absolutely everyone from all walks of life to go and see it while it’s still in theatres, it’s a movement. And when you’re done make sure you give the official soundtrack a listen, you will not be disappointed.

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