Black Panther is undoubtable a classic when it comes to movies that are culturally impactful. The movie has won countless awards and has broken numerous records. But the true measure of how impactful this movie is, is still yet to be known. This undoubtedly puts a lot of pressure on the soundtrack to not just be a regular soundtrack, but a soundtrack guided by artists who themselves drive culture and influence. This is where the label TDE and most notably Kendrick Lamar comes into to play. Listening to the album there is no doubt that Kendrick has left his mark all over the album by appearing on 5 of the 13 songs on the soundtrack. But it falls short of having that one truly impactful track.
The album incorporates a lot of african inspired sounds such as the drums which can be heard on tracks like "All The Stars", "Opps", "Redemption", and "Pray For Me". The great thing about the album is that it touches on many of the deep issues that plague the black community. These issues are something that Kendrick has touched on numerous times throughout his career. But even with all of that being said there still is not a track that sticks as powerfully uplifting or inspirational. This is where Wale’s “Black Heroes” should’ve come into play.
Black Hereos is a song that appears on Wale’s 2013 junior album release “The Gifted”. Throughout the song Wale touches on the troubles of black people and the absence of a black hero to help inspire and guide the youth. This is what Black Panther is about and is why the movie was championed throughout the black community. This movie was created to inspire and put the “Black Hero” front stage and center. Many would say “Finally”. And Wale says:
Ain’t no hope for a young nigga
Reading between the lines and the various wordplay and double entendres in the verses, Wale is able to capture moments that explain the options that young black people are presented and glorified. The options presented seem limited because people in the community only see drug dealers who have the things things that they want, like cars and clothes. And the only other image that is projected is the image on TV of rappers or ball players who also have the things that they want.
This cold poet just throw up quotables to give em hope
Wale continues this theme of black success being seen as only “the football player” having instead of politicians or doctors. Which in Black Panther the movie presents numerous figures such as T'Challa’s sister Shuri who is the scientist / engineer. Images that are needed. As Wale explains:
And they Marion Barry, yea I have Barry Sanders
With all of this said the Black Panther soundtrack needed this song to create the same impact that the movie did. And it would've been a great fit as the last track on the soundtrack. But looking at the actual song that did become the last track called “Pray For Me”, which seemed counterproductive to what the movie was. It was too commercial. This is for a soundtrack that needed to match the look and feel of such an important movie. A movie that black people have been waiting to see because of the absence of Black Hereos as Wale explains:
And I wrote this album without a care in the world
So sit back and listen to Wale's Black Heroes and let us know if you think this song should've made the Black Panther soundtrack: