When Black Panther hit cinemas in 2018, it completely shifted the culture as we knew it. The undeniable success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film underscored the clear need for more Black stories in Hollywood. And as much as we were obsessed with the heartfelt origin story of T’Challa as the Black Panther (miss you always, Chadwick), it wasn’t just the movie’s incredible plot that had us in a chokehold. Black Panther’s accompanying soundtrack, expertly curated by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, was just as important to us. The 14-song album, which featured Future, SZA, Jorja Smith, and other heavy hitters in music, took listeners down a gender-bending Afrofuturistic journey that fans still enjoy to this day.
Four long years later, the legend of the Black Panther continues in the film’s long-awaited sequel. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sombrely invites us to a new reality for the most technologically advanced country in the world as they try to adjust to life without their fearless leader. In the film, we are also introduced to Talokan, a hidden kingdom whose journey almost exactly mirrors that of Wakanda. As the emotional trailer for the MCU release teases, grief is at the centre of this story, further intensified by feelings of guilt, fear, rage and triumph.
The soundtrack for the new film aptly reflects that complex range of emotions. With assists from Rihanna (her first new solo single in six years), Tems, Amaarae, and a unique cohort of Black and brown artists from all over the diaspora, the project embodies the hurting but never broken spirit of Wakanda, as well as beautiful African and Mesoamerican cultures reflected in Wakanda Forever. Just like the film, this soundtrack is a powerful, heartfelt dedication to Chadwick Boseman, and to anyone who’s ever lost someone but still kept going.
Ahead, every song you’re going to fall in love with on the Wakanda Forever soundtrack.