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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Top Dawg Entertainment Announces TDE: The Championship Tour With Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Schoolboy Q

Holy shit. Out of nowhere Monday morning, Top Dawg Entertainment announced TDE: The Championship Tour. As the tour's victorious name suggests, the two-month trek is stacked with TDE talent.

Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and ScHoolboy Q are taking the TDE experience on the road starting May 4 in Vancouver at Rogers Arena. They'll be joined by Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, SiR, and Lance Skiiiwalker. According to a press release from TDE Monday, more guests will be announced soon.

 

• @TopDawgEnt PRESENTS: THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR #TDE

A post shared by retOne TDE (@retone) on Jan 22, 2018 at 6:30am PST

Get the full run of dates below:

  • May 04 Vancouver, BC* Rogers Arena
  • May 05 Seattle, WA White River Amphitheatre
  • May 06 Portland, OR Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
  • May 08 Oakland, CA* Oracle Arena
  • May 10 Los Angeles, CA* The Forum
  • May 13 San Diego, CA Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
  • May 14 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
  • May 15 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
  • May 17 Dallas, TX Starplex Pavilion
  • May 18 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater
  • May 19 Houston, TX The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
  • May 22 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
  • May 23 West Palm Beach, FL Coral Sky Amphitheatre
  • May 25 Atlanta, GA Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
  • May 26 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
  • May 27 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
  • May 29 New York, NY* Madison Square Garden
  • May 30 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
  • Jun 01 Bristow, VA (DC) Jiffy Lube Live
  • Jun 02 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
  • Jun 03 Buffalo, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
  • Jun 05 Boston, MA Xfinity Center
  • Jun 07 Hartford, CT XFINITY Theatre
  • Jun 08 Philadelphia, PA BB&T Pavilion
  • Jun 09 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
  • Jun 12 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
  • Jun 13 Detroit, MI* DTE Energy Music Theatre
  • Jun 15 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
  • Jun 16 Pittsburgh, PA KeyBank Pavilion

Ticket sales begin Jan. 26 at noon local time via Ticketmaster. Dates marked with an asterisk will give fans an early start with an American Express presale Jan. 23.

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Ahead of the tour you better spend your summer following around the country, the TDE team is blessing fans with Black Panther: The Album. The album features lead single “All The Stars,” as well as more songs curated and produced by Lamar and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. For the batch of new original songs, Lamar worked closely with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.

“Marvel Studios' Black Panther is amazing, from its cast to its director,” Lamar said when announcing the album, which marks the first time he's been involved with such a project. “The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture.”

Black Panther: The Album is expected to drop Feb. 9.

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How Terrence “Punch” Henderson Helped Build TDE + Coached Kendrick Lamar and SZA | Blueprint

A listless writer and rapper from South Central LA, “Punch” went from having interest in music but no concrete goals to teaming up with Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and discovering the artists who came to be known as the Black Hippy Crew. As Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy Q began to make waves, Punch underwent trial by fire, learning how to break acts, maneuver out of bad industry deals, and expand the label. In 2017, he steered both Kendrick Lamar and SZA to a breakout year, racking up Grammys, commercial success and critical acclaim, and cementing Top Dawg Entertainment as hip-hop's premier independent label.

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TDE Releases Another Round of Kendrick Lamar ‘Damn’ Merch

If you’re looking to get your hands on Kendrick Lamar’s Damn merch, get your credit card ready and hit up the Top Dawg Entertainment webshop right now. The label recently unveiled their latest batch of gear inspired by the record-breaking album, and has also restocked several pieces from the previous capsule.

The newest items include two minimal hoodies with the project’s title written on the chest, a six-panel cap embroidered with ‘Damn’ on the front and “Fear” lines on the back, as well as a black graphic “Be Humble” tee with the notable lyrics “sit down” and “My left stroke just went viral/Right stroke put lil baby in a spiral” featured on the back.

The designs range from $30 to $60 and are available for pre-order on TDE’s website. The newest items will ship out June 16, while the restocked Kung Fu Kenny hoodie will ship June 8. You can check out the latest gear below.

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn' Merch

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn' Merch

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn' Merch

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn' Merch

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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ Reaches Platinum Status in Less Than 1 Month

Kendrick Lamar's new album Damn, which hasn't even been out for a month yet, has already been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Interscope Records shared the good news Thursday:

Damn arrived Apr. 14 via Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath, and Interscope. Several weeks prior, Lamar had hinted that something big was coming at the end of his surprise single “The Heart Part 4,” which ended with the phrase, “Y’all got til April the seventh to get y’all shit together.” When that day came, Lamar didn't drop an album, but rather announced its release date.

However, any disappointments were soon forgotten when the record came out. It has been met with near-universal acclaim from critics, obsessive theorizing from fans, and stellar sales. As if that wasn't enough, every song from the album ended up on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. The Compton rapper has announced plans for a tour to support the record this summer.

Damn is the first album of any genre released in 2017 to go platinum. (J. Cole's 4 Your Eyez Only, which went platinum last month, was released in December, 2016). The platinum plaque is not Kendrick's only recent RIAA certification. Just last month, his 2011 album Section.80 went gold.

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Troy Ave Claims He Was Going to Sign With TDE Despite Calling Kendrick a ‘Weirdo Rapper’

On his just-released NuPac project, Troy Ave claims he was ready to sign with Top Dawg Entertainment before “the whole shit just fell through.” On the 32-minute commentary track “Truth Be Told PSA,” Troy Ave opens up about his efforts to keep his career moving forward while in jail. During that time, Ave says, Kendrick Lamar indirectly reached out with some words of support.

According to Ave, Lamar said something to the effect of, “I see what you're going through, man. Send my love.” A couple days after receiving Lamar's words, Ave started pondering a future with Top Dawg Entertainment and gave then-manager Hovain a call. “I said, 'Yo, put the plan in action, man,” Ave recalled. “We gonna go out West when I come home and we gonna sign with TD.'” The story falls in line with the theme of Troy Ave comparing his career to 2Pac on NuPac, as 2Pac signed to Death Row after Suge Knight's assistance in posting bail in 1995.

Ave added that he always admired the Top Dawg brand. “I always liked what they was doing,” Ave said. “They kinda independent like us, but way bigger because they went and got with a major. They got shit that I like to see, like loyalty and unity, that type of shit. Cool. I give [Hovain] the whole play. Of course, he can't make that happen at all. At all. He doesn't make it happen. The whole shit just fell through.”

The TDE comments start at roughly the 14:45 mark in the clip below:

Interestingly enough, Ave once said Lamar was “just a weirdo rapper” in the Raekwon and N.O.R.E. collab “New York City.”

Ave later told Hot 97 the lyric wasn't intended as a diss. 

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