In an interview with Hits Daily Double, longtime TDE producer Sounwave detailed the extensive collaborative process that went into making Black Panther: The Album, the Kendrick Lamar-helmed soundtrack to the breakout Marvel film, saying that finding the artists to collaborate with took months, as well as some last-minute roster cuts to make deadline.
“There were a variety of reasons why each artist was picked,” Sounwave explains, “from Kendrick, Top Dawg and I already being fans of the artist to finding the right person to match the emotion we were looking for, and also a lot of studying different kinds of music. We were listening to a massive South African playlist for months, straight to where we became big fans of the sound and culture. And that was an important part, because we wanted to go inside their world to get an organic sound, sonically and emotionally.”
Unfortunately, he says, “We were also on a very strict time limit, so all through the DAMN Tour, Kendrick and I would hop right offstage into the studio bus, creating different ideas from beats to hooks. We even ended up scrapping great songs with big-name features on them because we couldn’t clear things in time or they didn’t fit the overall concept, but it all worked out at the end.”
Wile it’s disappointing to think that there are some possible classics metaphorically lying on a cutting room floor somewhere, the end result was the opposite of a disappointment. The soundtrack not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, it was as resounding a critical success as the film itself and it’s still sitting in the No. 1 spot. All hail the king.