Cast-off songs. Second-rate verses. B-grade beats. Phoned-in guest spots. That's how movie soundtracks are supposed to work. Not this time.

Many are claiming Black Panther is the superhero movie of the year, and now it has an album that lives up to the hype, thanks to Kendrick Lamar.

The rapper doesn't just sweep up an A-list roster of talent for his soundtrack, he pulls out some of their best work.

Try Opps, which has Lamar, Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok running riot over basement grime. Or X, which opens with cat squeals and has Lamar trading sizzling verses with Schoolboy Q and 2 Chainz.


SZA continues her run of form on All the Stars, a song that grows on you over time, as does The Ways, a cruisy summer stunner with Khalid and Swae Lee.

Want bangers? King's Dead's thudding beats and brutal verses from Jay Rock and Future will do your head in, while Paramedic!'s old-school bells are backpack rap of the best kind.

Then there's Pray For Me, which pulls the best performance out of The Weeknd in years.

But it's Lamar who steals the show, guesting on nearly every song with verses that take Black Panther's subject matter and use it as an extension of his own story.

"Who need a hero? " raps Lamar over the song's twisted synths. "You need a hero / Look in the mirror / There go your hero."

Real heroes help everyone around them rise up, and that's exactly what Lamar's done here.

Black Panther OST

Label: Interscope
Verdict: Another chapter from hip-hop's best storyteller