As the Swedish composer's third collaboration with director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan, Ludwig Göransson's original score for Marvel's Black Panther was also his most adventurous and cross-cultural to date. Pushed by Coogler to utilize as much traditional African music as possible, Göransson traveled to the International Library of African Music in Grahamstown, South Africa, where he collected hundreds of sounds that would find their way into the score (such as the tambin flute that was central to Killmonger's recurring theme). Göransson also recruited Senagalese singer Baaba Maal, whose haunting vocals appear throughout the album, most prominently on the grand anthem "Wakanda" and the moving "A King's Sunset." Throughout, tribal chants, a crew of percussionists, and a 40-person Xhosa choir collided with American hip-hop trap beats and Western string orchestration, supporting the multicultural sound of the fictional kingdom of Wakanda, especially on standout moments like "Killmonger's Challenge" and "United Nations/End Titles." Motifs from the triumphant score also found their way onto the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack, like on the Jay Rock single, "King's Dead," which shared vocal samples with the exhilarating "Casino Brawl." In the same week that the soundtrack topped the charts, the score also landed in the Top 100.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung