The Queen & Slim soundtrack is a high-octane ride with a tender heart — just like the movie it’s made for.
The soundtrack dropped Friday from the iconic Motown Records, ahead of Queen & Slim’s US release later this week, and the UK cinema release later in January. Queen & Slim stars Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya and model and actress Jodie Turner-Smith as a “black Bonnie and Clyde” running from the police. After a forgettable first date in Ohio, the pair are pulled over on a minor traffic stop — but the situation ends suddenly and tragically, with a police officer dead after Kaluuya’s character fights back in self-defence. The incident goes viral, and the two (him a retail employee, her a criminal defence lawyer) go on the run and become national figures.
The 17-song soundtrack is a display of Black talent and artistry, featuring a genuinely staggering lineup ranging from rising hip-hop superstars to soul and R&B legends. A new, fiery Megan Thee Stallion track kicks off the proceedings, followed by original songs by artists including Lauryn Hill — her track “Guarding The Gates” is her first new music in five years, Rolling Stone reports, though fans might recognise it from her live shows.
Other artists on the soundtrack include — *takes deep breath* — Vince Staples, 6LACK, Mereba, Syd, Coast Contra, BJ The Chicago Kid, Lil Baby, Burna Boy, and Blood Orange, who also composed the film’s score. Classic songs by Bilal (“Soul Sista”), Mike Jones (“Still Tippin’”), and Roy Ayers (“Searching”) are on the list, too, along with Tiana Major9 and EarthGang’s new single “Collide,” which dropped with an accompanying music video.
Queen & Slim was written by Lena Waithe, and draws inspiration from a short story by her and author James Frey. Waithe worked with Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas and Motown Records’ president, Ethiopia Habtemariam, to assemble the soundtrack, which is intended to sound like a musical road trip mirroring the characters’ journey together. It is also meant to be a bold artistic statement — a modern take on the history of Black music in the U.S.
“I wanted the soundtrack for Queen & Slim to showcase the historical evolution of Black music, from its roots in blues and soul, to modern bounce, hip hop and R&B — much like we used to see in film soundtracks in the ‘90s,” Matsoukas said in a statement.
Queen & Slim hits cinemas on 31 January 2020.