Of all the recurring people, places and things in the newly-released blockbuster Black Panther, Kendrick Lamar and his brand of hip-hop trail perhaps only vibranium—the fictional substance that fuels the technology of the fictional African nation Wakanda—in terms of frequency of appearance.
The Black Panther soundtrack, produced and headlined by Lamar, suffuses the film, with the work of the rapper and his pals popping up in car chases, nightclub scenes and credit sequences. As the film debuts to a projected $165 million opening week, which would be the best ever for a Friday-to-Monday opening, its companion album is expected to bow at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, moving 150,000 units.
“Hip-hop has always been the ultimate genre,” Lamar told me at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston last year. “Even when the stats wasn’t out, we always moved the needle.”