But there are other moments that reflect the nerve driving the project. "Opps" is a sleek, house-indebted piece of electro-rap from Vince Staples and Johannesburg artist Yugen Blakrok, who steals the song with a verse packed with wordplay and tenacity. (She even dares to namecheck Gotham's Riddler, which hilariously earns her the rare bleep on this otherwise uncensored album.) As you'd expect from a TDE project, the rap-heavy moments tend to hit the hardest: "Paramedic!," a banger from Vallejo collective SOB x RBE, is an explosion of energy on a record that often chooses sub-duded contemplation over kinetic intensity. Does it need multiple James Blake contributions? Probably not.
Like the movie itself, Black Panther The Album is at its most compelling when it embraces the charismatic radicalism of Killmonger, the scene-stealing villain played Michael B. Jordan, daring to explore political ideas, emotional tones, and stylistic registers typically kept outside the Marvel universe. "King's Dead," a careening posse cut featuring Lamar, his Black Hippy co-hort Jay Rock, and Atlanta innovator Future, could give a Disney executive a heart attack. But here it is on an album that Spotify invites you to listen to when you open up the app. You can hear Future say "Slob on me knob" on a record that's tied to a movie that will probably gross a billion dollars.