Producer Sounwave Breaks Down Creation of "Black Panther" Soundtrack


The lethal combination that arises when Kendrick Lamar and TDE resident beatmaker Sounwave come together is no joke. That much was clear after the latter revealed the hours the two men put into K.Dot’s DAMN—going so far as to bringing in sleeping bags in the studio to ensure perfection. Now Sounwave has returned to deliver more insight into the latest masterpiece to emerge from the Top Dawg house as he detailed the creative process that went into Black Panther: The Album.

In a conversation with Hits Daily Double, the Cali-bred producer revealed that the soundtrack that is poised to spend a third week at the very top the Billboard charts came about as a result realizing that just a handful songs—which was the original request director Ryan Coogler—wouldn’t do the “Black Panther” film justice.

“When Ryan first approached us,” Sounwave begins. “the movie was about 50% done, and he wanted a few records to match specific scenes in the movie. But Kendrick and I instantly were drawn in by the opening scene and the deep message this movie told from two different standpoints. We were inspired to follow that same formula by keeping the movie’s energy and raw emotions in a modern musical form. We realized that would be hard to do with just a few songs, which is why the soundtrack was born.

While “Black Panther” provided the team with a great creative landscape to refer to, Sounwave notes the technical restrictions presented a well-received challenge in switching up how they came about crafting songs, picking artists, and finalizing the track listing that boasts the namesakes the likes Travis Scott, The Weeknd, Future, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Vince Staples, and Jorja Smith among others.

“We had to attack things differently from our usual album format because the story line was already created for us to follow, which allowed us to tap into elements we normally wouldn’t do. We were also on a very strict time limit, so all through the DAMN. Tour, Kendrick and I would hop right fstage into the studio bus, creating different ideas from beats to hooks. We even ended up scrapping great songs with big-name features on them because we couldn’t clear things in time or they didn’t fit the overall concept, but it all worked out at the end.”

Currently, Black Panther: The Album has already sold the equivalent 300,000 albums in its first two weeks domestically, amassing a whopping 225 million streams in the Untied States alone across Spotify and Apple Music. As “Black Panther” continues to expand in theaters across the globe, its accompanying soundtrack is likely to continue to enjoy mounting success.