Ryan Coogler Reveals How Kendrick Lamar Got Involved With ‘Black Panther: The Album’

The anticipation for Marvel’s Black Panther flick is getting stronger and stronger each day. But perhaps equally anticipated is the film’s soundtrack produced Kendrick Lamar and his label Top Dawg Entertainment.

In the days leading up to the release of Black Panther: The Album, director Ryan Coogler spoke to NPR about the project and how the TDE crew eventually became involved. He revealed that the initial plan was for Kendrick to contribute only a few songs to the film; however, the rapper’s role became much greater after he was given an extended look at the movie.

“I've been a massive Kendrick fan ever since I first heard him, since his mixtapes, and I've been trying to track him down,” Coogler said. “Eventually I caught up with him a couple years ago—first with Anthony 'Top Dawg' Tiffith, who runs his label, and then later on sat down with him and Kendrick and just spoke about much his music affected me. He talked about my movies that he had seen, and we said if the opportunity comes, we'd love to work with each other on something.”

Shortly after K-Dot completed his fourth studio album Damn, Coogler reached out to the rapper to discuss his involvement.

“To Marvel's credit, they really supported the idea of getting some songs from him,” the director explained. “At first, he was just going to do a few songs for the film, and then he came in and watched quite a bit of the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it.”

TDE producer Sounwave told NPR that the team had started working on the album during Kendrick’s Damn Tour last summer, and that about half of the soundtrack’s concepts were developed while on the road.

“[During] The Damn Tour, we probably came up with 50 percent of it — the production, the hooks and ideas,” he said. “When we got back from the tour in September, that's when we were able to execute our ideas and reach out to people we respect and whatnot … kind of just put the stamp on it. So, I want to say those two months was the most vital on that tour, in terms of creative process.”

Black Panther: The Album includes appearances by everyone from SZA and the Weeknd to James Blake and Travis Scott to Vince Staples and Jorja Smith. The film’s score was helmed by Coogler’s previous collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who is best known for his work with Childish Gambino. This fact made many fans wonder: Why wasn’t Childish included on the soundtrack?

Though the “Redbone” artist didn’t receive a credit on Black Panther: The Album, it turns out he did contribute to the film’s sound. Rolling Stone’s film critic Peter Travers pointed this out in his recent review, in which he applauded the composer’s work as well as the various hip-hop artists who assisted him.

“[…] It's fair to mention Ludwig Goransson's rousing score with hip-hop song contributions from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Sam Dew, Vince Staples and Childish Gambino,” he wrote.

We’ll have to wait and see just how big Childish’s contribution was.

As we wait for the album to drop, you can check out some its previously released singles here. Black Panther: The Album is set to release this Friday (Feb. 9), one week before the film hits U.S. theaters. 

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Kendrick Lamar Buys a Life-Changing Wheel-Chair Accessible Van for One of His Fans

Kendrick Lamar gave one of his biggest fans a huge and heartwarming gift.

During the Dallas stop of the Damn Tour, Kendrick took the time to catch up with a quadriplegic woman named Jennifer Phillips, who has used a wheelchair ever since a 2007 car accident that caused a spinal cord injury. And although she has gone on to receive her college degree, take ski trips, and attend many concerts (eight of which were Kendrick shows), she said the only thing holding her back was her van. So, in 2016, Phillips started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a modified vehicle that would make traveling much easier. The page is no longer active, thanks to Kendrick’s generosity.

That’s right, Kendrick purchased the fan a new van. 

Phillips announced the gift on social media, along with a photo of the autographed Damn jacket Kendrick gave her. His note read: “Thank you for always supporting me. Your [sic] a inspiration for me. You are strong and positive. Your[sic] kind and beautiful. For all the years of inspiring me, the least I can do is make sure your comfortable driving the city. A gift from me to you. Your[sic] always appreciated! — K. Lamar.”

Phillips also received a customized Dallas Mavericks jersey with “Duckworth” on the back. She opened up about the experience on Instagram.

“If you know me or even just look in my Instagram profile for two minutes then you know I am a huge Kendrick Lamar and TDE fan/supporter for YEARS. I've been to every show Kendrick has had in Dallas,” she wrote. “[…]I was a big fan of music and concerts before my injury but I never supported and loved a label like theirs before. Of course they have great music but they are also great people […]I never supported them for any benefits like this lol. Their music and shows were enough for me. But this is amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all and always will. Thank God for you Kendrick and I will continue to pray for you. And like I said, next time I'm driving myself to your show lol. Thanks to the whole team!”

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The Road to Travis Scott Dominating 2017

As far as consistency, you can't do much better than Travis Scott right now. The 25-year-old artist has grown to be one of the biggest acts in rap, and he's done it with a tireless campaign of solo material, collaborations, and a live show that makes headlines on a nightly basis.

Ever since Travis dropped Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight in September, 2016, he's been on a war path of outdoing his previous achievements, which includes two tours and two projects this year. To get a sense of just how active he's been, we've put together a list of his biggest moments over the last nine months.

Travis says he's executive producing Cruel Winter

Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight wasn't even out a week when Travis visited Hot 97 and revealed on the airwaves that he would be executive producing G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Winter. The timeline for its release has been derailed (Travis said it would come this February), but clearly Kanye put enough stock into the Houston representative to let him helm this highly anticipated project. That's definitely a confidence booster.

Success of BITTSM and huge publishing deal

We can't move forward in the storyline without acknowledging the success of Travis' sophomore album. He leveled up with the release of Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, which opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and moved 88,000 equivalent album units in its first week. That same week, he locked in a worldwide publishing deal with Universal. 

ComplexCon performance

​Not to toot our own horn, but Travis did debut the set design currently used for his Birds Eye View Tour at ComplexCon, where he lit up Long Beach Arena for a performance that sets the bar for future ComplexCon events to come. He also got to share the stage with one of his biggest influences in Kid Cudi. A major night, to say the least.

Travis appears on Kid Cudi's Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'

Those who have followed Travis' career know how much Kid Cudi means to him (“Kid Cudi was my guy,” he told Complex, “if I had no weed, he was my drug”). It was monumental then when he joined Cudi on “Baptized in Fire” off Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. Another item to check off the bucket list.

​Shut out of 2017 Grammy nominations

Count this as a humbling experience for Travis, who up until this point was cruising off some major Ws. “So hurt man,” he said in December when the 2017 Grammy nominations came out and he was nowhere to be found. It would be fair to say that Travis used this as motivation, who later in the month promised more beats, a tour, and his third studio release Astroworld in 2017.

Studio session with DJ Khaled, Mariah Carey, and Migos

Leave it to DJ Khaled to bring Travis, Migos and Mariah together under one roof. Whatever they worked on will presumably be for Khaled's upcoming album Grateful, and if it does drop, expect La Flame's stock to rise even more.

Joining Drake and Quavo on “Portland”

Five months into 2017 and Drake's More Life is (obviously) still one of the biggest drops of the year. And while “Portland” hasn't been released as an official single, the song has reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. You can credit its success to Travis and Quavo, who laid down the energy for Drake to feed off of on the Murda Beatz-produced track. If you've seen “Portland” performed live, you know it rings off.

“Portland” caps off some notable guest appearances from Travis this year, who's also worked with Migos (“Kelly Price”), Wale (“Fish n Grits”), and his Fate of the Furious collaboration alongside Lil Uzi Vert and Quavo.

Travis previews new music with Quavo

​Speaking of Quavo, Travis finally previewed a few tracks from their upcoming collaborative album in early April. More recently, Travis teased it could be a surprise drop. Though it's more likely to come later than sooner, don't expect much warning when he and Quavo decide to hit us with it.

Cozying up to Kylie Jenner

This may not be music-related, but let's keep it real: being linked to a Kardashian or Jenner is emblematic of your status in the game. Sorry, Tyga.

Arrested for “inciting a riot” in Arkansas

This incident may have a negative connotation attached to it, but after speaking to fans who attended Travis' concert in Rogers, Arkansas, it sounds like the venue and security weren't aware of just how wild his shows get. It wouldn't be far off in saying Travis' live show is a must-attend for the ragers out there.

Late-night SoundCloud drop

Travis may have been a little late on the release of his new music, but he certainly delivered this week with three cuts to add to the catalog. It's unclear if any of these tracks will appear on Astroworld, but we wouldn't rule any of them out either. In 2015, Travis dropped “Antidote” as a loosie on SoundCloud; that song would later appear on his debut album Rodeo. Also in late 2015, Travis shared “Wonderful,” his collaboration with the Weeknd. Nine months later, it was the album closer for Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.

If there's anything we've learned over the last nine months, it's that Travis has no plans of slowing down. Astroworld, a Quavo collab project, Birds Eye View Tour and Kendrick Lamar's Damn Tour, and possibly Cruel Winter? Travis is on pace to have his biggest year yet. 

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Travis Scott Says Quavo Album Is ‘Coming Soon’ and Might Be a Surprise Drop

It sounds like Travis Scott is baking the element of surprise into the rollout for his collaborative album with Quavo. In an interview with GQ, the G.O.O.D. Music rapper was asked about the highly anticipated project, and while he didn't give a lengthy answer, he made it clear fans shouldn't expect too much warning when it arrives.

“The Quavo album is coming soon,” he said. “I'm dropping new music soon. You know how I do it though: I like surprises.”

Travis previously teased the project back in April when he shared two song previews on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show. One of the tracks, “Lo-Fi,” was produced by Murda Beatz, who spoke with Complex about how it came together. “We made that in L.A.,” he said. “I made the beat and then we made the song. That song's a banger. I just know that's gonna be a smash.”

Travis was also asked about the title of the album, to which he replied: “We're all about surprises.” If there's one thing Travis has been into lately, it's surprises. Just last night, the rapper dropped three new tracks on SoundCloud, one of them being a collaboration with Playboi Carti.

This should build up more hype for Travis' 2017, which will not only include the collaborative project with Quavo, but also his third studio album Astroworld.

You can catch Travis on his Birds Eye View Tour through June. He'll also be joining Kendrick Lamar on the road for the Damn Tour; that begins in July.

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