Marvel’s blockbuster Black Panther franchise has returned to the big screens once again this weekend. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in cinemas worldwide, released to rave reviews and major excitement. Yet this is also a moment of pause, since this is the first Black Panther film released since the tragic passing of its star, Chadwick Boseman.
The film has been hailed as expertly treading the line between tribute and superhero bombast, and the soundtrack, also released last week, is no different, striking the perfect balance between the excitement and sadness the next instalment brings.
The album is out now on all platforms, and here’s a breakdown of all the artists involved in the release.
Bajan superstar Rihanna needs no introduction. The singer turned businesswoman is one of the best-selling artists in the world, clocking 215 million digital sales worldwide and 9 UK number 1’s.
Her contribution to the Black Panther soundtrack, Lift Me Up, written with the Nigerian singer and songwriter Tems, charted worldwide – peaking at number 2 in the US and number 3 in the UK. It is the highest charting track from the soundtrack so far.
Speaking to PA, actress Michaela Coel, who stars in the movie, said of Rihanna’s involvement: “It’s kind of incredible because Rihanna doesn’t make music for any old person or project so it’s huge,”
Director Ryan Coogler, who worked on the film, spoke of the magnitude of the Rihanna project and how important it was for her after the passing of Chadwick Boseman.
Speaking at the red-carpet premiere, the 36-year-old said: “A lot of improbable things needed to happen for it to come through and Rihanna was very clear that she did that for him.”
The tracks are the first that Rihanna has worked on as a lead artist since her 2016 album ANTI, having taken time out to grow her cosmetics business Fenty Beauty and lingerie line Savage X Fenty, which propelled her to billionaire status. She’s following up with her music return with a highly anticipated Super Bowl performance on February 12 next year.
There’s also a rumour that she’s in line to headline Glastonbury 2023 after sources reported she’s in talks with the Eavis family – it would be the singer’s first ever appearance at the festival.
The Croydon-raised rapper, who is included in the soundtrack, has taken the UK music scene by storm his freestyle Shut Up became the first to chart on the UK charts – reaching the top 10.
Since then, he has had three UK number 1 singles and played a headline set at Glastonbury in 2019 – at just 28 years old.
His work has scored him 2 BRIT awards, including British Album of the Year for his debut album Gang Signs and Prayer, the first rap album to win the award. He’s also ventured into acting, starring in the film Brotherhood, playing character Yardz.
Fresh from his recently televised interview with Louis Theroux and his Graham Norton appearance promoting his upcoming album This Is What I Mean, as well as recording a last minute BBC Special (being interviewed by both Trevor Nelson and, separately for radio, Clara Amfo) which will be broadcast on November 15, the rapper took time out to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere.
Opting for a hot pink two-piece suit, he showed off a timepiece from his growing collection of watches - a holographic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, specially customised with a Black Panther watch face and purple straps for the event. For context, watches from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak collection retail from around £28,000, and upwards of £200,000 for the rarer pieces (if a £28,000 watch isn’t rare enough).
The Nigerian singer and songwriter broke into mainstream after the release of her EP For Broken Ears, which was released to critical acclaim.
Her single Essence, with fellow Nigerian artist WizKid, took the charts by storm worldwide, gaining her first US top 10 and UK top 20 – it also notched a Grammy Award nomination.
Her collaboration with Drake and Future, Wait For U, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022 and peaked at number 8 in the UK, giving Tems her first top 10 entry in the UK charts.
She appears in a cover of Bob Marley classic No Woman No Cry for the film, but also co-wrote Lift Me Up with Rihanna, Ludwig Göransson; and Black Panther’s director Ryan Coogler.
In a press statement, she said of the experience: “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life.
“I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them. Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honour.”
The Nigerian hitmaker first gained traction in 2013 with his first album L.I.F.E, which catapulted him into the spotlight in the country.
He has since taken the world by storm with his albums Outside, African Giant and Twice as Tall receiving critical acclaim – with the latter winning a Grammy Award.
His latest album released this year – Love Damini – spawned the hit single Last Last, which gave Burna Boy his first solo UK top 5 hit.
As well as appearing on the Black Panther soundtrack, he ends the year as one of the faces of the festive campaign for British luxury fashion house Burberry – alongside Shakira.
The hitmaker has been a mainstay in the hip-hop scene for over a decade, ultimately gaining his first number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Drake after Way 2 Sexy was released last year.
He went on to gain a second US number 1 single after Wait For U with Drake and Tems (who also features prominently on the soundtrack) was released earlier this year.
When the 38-year-old isn’t releasing hit songs, he’s a busy parent; he recently became a father for the eighth time.
The Nigerian artist first cracked the UK charts with Ed Sheeran collaboration Peru, which peaked at number 2 on the UK Top 40 and was certified Platinum by the BPI this year.
Speaking after he was included in the soundtrack, he tweeted: “Incredibly honored to be a part of this. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack out worldwide. love to everyone involved.”
Snow Tha Product
The American singer-songwriter first came to prominence in 2018 with her mixtape Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover, and has since released compilation album, VIBEHIGHER, and studio album To Anywhere, in 2022.
She has multiple accolades to her name, including a nomination for a Latin Grammy Award for her single BZRP Music Sessions #39 with Argentine producer Bizrrap.
She revealed her inclusion in the soundtrack with an Instagram story captioned “Secrets out” leading to fan excitement in the Latin music community.
One fan tweeted: “Much more connected to the film than the first Black Panther ST (which I loved by the way). That E-40/Snow Tha Product collab looks interesting..”
The American rapper is also part of group The Click – he rose to fame with his single Tell Me When to Go, produced by Lil Jon.
His latest studio album Practice Makes Paper featured big industry names including Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa, and his collaboration with Snow Tha Product has been one of the most anticipated projects on the soundtrack.
He tweeted after the Black Panther announcement: “Honored to be on the soundtrack”
The South Africa-based DJ and music producer is a big name in the country – rising to prominence after his single Khunza Gogo went debut platinum there.
Sino Msolo is another South African hitmaker featuring in the track – he’s grown to prominence through single Shandapha which has clocked over 45,000 views on YouTube.
Soweto-based South African singer and dancer Kamo Mphela grew in popularity after social media videos of her dancing gained traction on Instagram.
Since gaining popularity, she has released two projects, Twentee in 2019 and Nkulunkulu in 2021.
The South African artist’s singles Ba xolole and Akulalwa shot him to prominence him to prominence in his home country.
Young Stunna was acknowledged in the 2022 BET Awards, nominated in the Best New International Act category.
Busiswa is another South African hitmaker, growing in popularity after releasing single My Name Is, and gaining record label attention.
She since released singles Ngoku, Lahla and Gobisiqolo in collaboration with Bhizer, and was featured in Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans.
Nigerian singer and rapper Rema’s debut EP Rema dropped in 2019, and peaked at number one on Apple Music Nigeria.
Since then, he’s gathered a steady following, with his 2019 single Dumbei, from his self-titled EP, clocking over 60 million views on YouTube.
His sound – which he has described as “Afrorave” – has led to him gaining one of the strongest fan bases in Nigeria – known as Ravers (obviously).
He confirmed his contribution to the soundtrack with a screenshot of two tracks entitled Wake Up and Pantera, and tweeted: “Wakanda Forever”. The tweet received over 3K retweets and 20K likes.
Fans responded with excitement with one user tweeting: “You did wonders”. Another fan tweeted: “This is huge For the Culture!!! thumbs up Rema”.
Mare Advertencia Lirka
The Mexican artist and poet Mare Advertencia Lirka puts the highlighting of political injustices at the heart of her work.
She became part of crew OCG as a rapper/singer and formed Advertencia Lirika, the only female group of its kind in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Her YouTube channel has clocked over 1 million views in total.
The Texan artist is a rapper, singer and actor, having featured in Netflix series Mo.
The artist is of Nigerian descent, and married to Fat Nwigwe – who both feature in the track on the soundtrack together.
The Mexican artist gained traction in 2011 with his first album Mi Primer Paso/In Yáax Xinbaal
Since the release, he has been working on multiple projects including Sangre Maya – which is one of the most listened to indigenous rap songs.
One of his main motivations is to make people proud of their Maya culture, and for the younger generation to not be ashamed of using their language.
The California-based singer has established himself as a YouTube artist to watch – the tracks on his channel have clocked up tens of thousands of views on YouTube, with his latest track Upload gaining 2k views in a month.
The artist has been celebrating on his Twitter after securing the Future feature in the soundtrack.
He tweeted:“I’m turnt up” after the release and has been retweeting fans reaction to the song, many praising its delivery and production.
Nigerian artist Ckay blasted into mainstream charts with his worldwide hit Love Nwatiti – which went viral on TikTok and peaked at number 23 in the UK.
The hitmaker, who was also in attendance at the premiere, tweeted: “I’m proud to be a part of this amazing movie. WAKANDA FOREVER!”
2 year-old musician and producer Bloody Civilian, from Abuja, Nigeria, had already been making waves as a bright prospect for major label Def Jam before getting the opportunity to be on the soundtrack.
In an interview with Vogue, she was asked how she would celebrate her appearance.
She said: “By attending the premiere, and I will also wear my traditional regalia to go watch with my friends!”
The Mexican rapper is a budding name, with inspiration coming from hip hop heavyweights including 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.
His love of hip hop came from his father, who was a break-dancer; Red Bull have placed him as one of the best Spanish-language rappers.
His fans could not contain their excitement after the news he was included.
One tweeted: “ALEMÁN FEATURING REMA FOR THE BLACK PANTHER SOUNDTRACK!!?!!!! OMFGGGGG”
The South African artist has been making waves in his native country since 2019.
His debut album – Mamela – was a success in South Africa and propelled him to the forefront of Afro-House.
Whilst the song was a hit, he continues to experiment with genres, not wanting to be defined by one style.
Kamo is a South African music artist, known for her house influenced tracks. She’s popular in the country and her YouTube channel has clocked over 30 million views on all her material.
Fans have been rejoicing at her success on the soundtrack.
One user tweeted: “Seeing Kamo Mphela in the Black Panther playlist made me so happy”
Rising Mexican star Blue Rojo has been tipped as an artist to watch, represented by Universal Music Latin, and VOID Records.
He has received acclaim from multiple publications including Rolling Stone and Noisey.
A new fan who discovered him from the soundtrack wrote on Twitter: “whoever blue rojo is, they need to be a star - yesterday. because wth even is this? divine stuff”
Calle x Vida
The Spanish speaking group are known for their guitar-tinged tracks, clocking hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Fans of the soundtrack are loving their song - even those who can’t understand it.
One tweeted: “I’m not Spanish but this song!” in response to No Digas Mi Nombre.
Guadalupe de Jesús Chan Poot
Not much information is widely available about the music group, but they feature in track on the movie’s soundtrack – entitled Mi Pueblo.