The soundtrack for the 2022 American superhero film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a sequel to Black Panther (2018) based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, is produced by Marvel Studios and consists of an original score composed and produced by Ludwig Göransson. He has worked as the composer for Ryan Coogler's previous films. Göransson, who confirmed his involvement in the film in September 2021, also produced and curated most of the original songs for the album.
Since the storyline is primarily set in the underwater civilization of Talokan, and is rooted in Mesoamerican, Wakandan, and Nigerian cultures, Göransson went to Mexico City to research and recreate the Mayan music, feeling that the music is forcibly erased from history. Various ancient instruments from these cultures were utilized for the score to recreate the Mayan music, which he felt he had "never heard in a film before," while the orchestra and Mayan sounds were produced into the score. The theme for T'Challa, the titular protagonist in the first film, was altered and integrated into the score. Recording for the soundtrack and score happened simultaneously in Mexico and Lagos, with additional recording in Los Angeles. Göransson collaborated with contemporary artists — rappers, singers, indigenous musicians, and indigenous singers for recording the original songs in the album.
A soundtrack extended play titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue was released by Hollywood Records and Marvel Music on July 25, 2022, featuring three songs, including Tems cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" which was featured in the teaser trailer. The soundtrack album was released as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music from and Inspired By on November 4, by Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings, and Hollywood Records, along with Rihanna's original single "Lift Me Up" releasing a week before the album on October 28. The soundtrack album received critical acclaim. Göransson's score album was released as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Original Score) by Hollywood Records on November 11, coinciding with the film's release.
Wakanda Forever partially takes place in the underwater civilization of Talokan, the city where Namor resides. Tālocān is rooted in Mesoamerican culture, and Wakanda is rooted in African culture. Göransson worked with several musical archaeologists to extensively research and recreate the Mayan music, as he felt that "the music was forcibly erased from the world, hundreds of years ago" and also went to Mexico City, to possibly recreate the sound of Mayan. In the research, several instruments from the graves were found, including flutes with multiple components and fingerprints demonstrating how the instrument can be played. Göransson opined that, "a lot of the instruments are from nature. So it's like seashells, there are turtle shells that you hit with sticks, there are different kinds of clay flutes that make the sounds of birds, and shakers that sound like snakes. It was so inspiring to hear all these sounds that I never heard before and definitely never heard in a movie before."
Namor's sound was a seashell, hence Göransson played his theme using the object since it was an integral part of the script. He felt that seashell is a difficult instrument to play, as "the tone can sometimes be similar to a French horn, but you don't have the same range in tonality and intervals. Göransson explains, "You're very limited in your notes and how you could access the notes fast because you're basically changing the notes by just putting your hand in the seashell. So it was kind of a combination of two different seashells because we had to experiment a little bit to get the exact melody that I wanted. And sometimes when you see Namor by himself, in a more intimate setting, it's just a solo seashell melody. But then, when you see him with all his people, ready to go to war, it's the seashell accompanied by eight French horns. So it gets an extra power to it." Another instrument that portrays the sound of Namor, was the "death whistle," a clay flute which sound like a "crazy, otherworldly animal scream," which represents Namor's action or strength, resulting in the abrasive sound. Several vocal sounds were used for the citizens of Tālocāns, which were described it as "low male, throat singing type vocals."
T'Challa's theme, written for the first film, was altered in the sequel, as he felt that, "the theme is the same, but immersed with another character." A new theme was written for Shuri to underscore the process of grief and anger, as "when you first hear the theme, it’s sung by Jorja Smith and throughout the story, that theme evolves to evoke the kind of leader that Shuri wants to be. It even takes on a completely different shape in the form of a bombastic synthesizer." Riri Williams/Ironheart also had a unique theme, which Göransson had stated, "she’s from Chicago, so the culture of the city is part of her sound. I'm learning about this very progressive music city, including house and hip hop, so I’m just dipping my toe in her character."
Göransson also produced most of the songs and served as the executive producer of the soundtrack in addition to composing the score, which he described as a "seamless process." While recording the score during the daytime, with the Mayan instruments and sounds, he also recorded songs with contemporary artists and used the elements which he would record for the score, in the songs. The music production began as Ryan Coogler was filming Wakanda Forever, discussing the script with the artists along the way by adding "every note, every word, every lyric, everything was written specifically for the movie." At the recording in Mexico, the song "Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one", performed by Mayan rappers Pat Boy, Yaalen K’uj, and All Mayan Winik, was first recorded which was set during the end credits.
Another session was held in Lagos, Nigeria where three songs were recorded: a cover version of "No Woman, No Cry", performed by Tems, "Coming Back for You" performed by Fireboy DML, and "Anya Mmiri" performed by CKay featuring PinkPantheress. Göransson wrote the song, "Árboles Bajo el Mar", which was co-written by Vivir Quintana along with Mare Advertencia. It describes Namor's origin story, where his mother is forced to move into the ocean to escape the brutal assault of the Talokan, Göransson said, "That song was so powerful that some of that vocal melody I used later on in the theme for the Talokan siren song that they use to hypnotize people. I kind of got hypnotized myself when she [Quintana] started singing and pushing out air when she was breathing. It needed to be enticing and threatening, and we had that sung by a choir of Mexican singers." Another track, "Con la Brisa", was performed by Mexican singer Foudeqush, which was played when Namor took Shuri on a tour to Talokan. T'Challa's theme plays at the beginning of the song, with the lyrics of the song punctuated over the drum motif.
On October 18, 2022, it was confirmed that singer Rihanna had recorded two original songs for the film's soundtrack: "Lift Me Up" and "Born Again". The former was officially announced on October 26, 2022, as her first solo single release since "Love on the Brain" (2016), and was released as a single, two days later. A music video, accompanying the single was released on Rihanna's official YouTube channel on the same day. Göransson produced and co-wrote the track, with Rihanna, Coogler and Tems. He said that the song is a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who played T'Challa, the titular protagonist in Black Panther; Boseman died of cancer in August 2020. According to Clash, "Lift Me Up" is an "emotive" R&B ballad that "speaks from the heart." The song opened to mixed critical reception, but performed well commercially, with the song reaching number one in Switzerland, number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, number three on UK Official Singles Chart, and featured in the Top 10 in 10 other countries. It also topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot R&B Songs charts.
|Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue|
|EP by |
|Released||July 25, 2022|
A soundtrack extended play titled, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue (or simply Wakanda Forever Prologue), was released by Hollywood Records on July 25, 2022. It featured, Tems' cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry", which was used in the film's teaser trailer, along with two other songs: "A Body, a Coffin" by Amaarae, and "Soy" by Santa Fe Klan. Göransson produced all three songs and also served as one of the songwriters for "A Body, a Coffin".
|1.||"No Woman, No Cry" (performed by Tems)||Ludwig Göransson||3:34|
|2.||"A Body, A Coffin" (performed by Amaarae)||2:50|
|3.||"Soy" (performed by Santa Fe Klan)||Göransson||3:09|
|Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music from and Inspired By|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||November 4, 2022|
|Black Panther soundtracks chronology|
|Singles from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music from and Inspired By|
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music from and Inspired By, a compilation soundtrack album for the film was announced in late-October and was released by Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings and Hollywood Records on November 4, 2022. The album featured Rihanna's original single, "Lift Me Up" alongside several incorporated songs performed by an array of international artists from South Africa, Mexico and Nigeria, notably Burna Boy, Snow Tha Product, E-40, Stormzy, Fireboy DML, Tobe Nwigwe, Future, PinkPantheress and several others. Göransson, who executive produced the soundtrack, said in an interview, "Ryan and I talked about the importance of creating an immersive journey of sound and voice. If we used a song in the film, we wanted it to be the entire song, and to be connected to the story. Thematically, we wanted to move the audience from grief to celebration. When you listen to the soundtrack, you can close your eyes and relive the experience of the movie. That was the intention." On November 11, 2022, "Born Again", a song performed by Rihanna, was added as the album's final track through various streaming services.
|1.||"Lift Me Up" (performed by Rihanna)||Göransson||3:16|
|2.||"Love & Loyalty (Believe)" (performed by Busiswa, DBN Gogo, Sino Msolo, Kamo Mphela, and Young Stunna)||6:20|
|3.||"Alone" (performed by Burna Boy)||3:41|
|4.||"No Woman, No Cry" (performed by Tems)||Vincent Ford||Göransson||3:33|
|5.||"Árboles Bajo El Mar" (performed by Mare Advertencia Lirika and Vivir Quintana)||Göransson||4:21|
|6.||"Con La Brisa" (performed by Foudeqush and Göransson)||Göransson||2:47|
|7.||"La Vida" (performed by Snow Tha Product featuring E-40)||Göransson||2:37|
|8.||"Interlude" (performed by Stormzy)||Göransson||2:18|
|9.||"Coming Back For You" (performed by Fireboy DML)||2:56|
|10.||"They Want It, But No" (performed by Tobe Nwigwe and Fat Nwigwe)||2:37|
|11.||"Laayli' kuxa'ano'one" (performed by ADN Maya Colectivo, Pat Boy, Yaalen K'uj, and All Mayan Winik)||Göransson||3:44|
|12.||"Limoncello" (performed by OG DayV and Future)||DTB||2:34|
|13.||"Anya Mmiri" (performed by CKay featuring PinkPantheress)||3:08|
|14.||"Wake Up" (performed by Bloody Civilian featuring Rema)||2:42|
|15.||"Pantera" (performed by Alemán featuring Rema)||Göransson||2:49|
|16.||"Jele" (performed by Busiswa, Gogo, Msolo, Mphela, and Stunna)||3:49|
|17.||"Inframundo" (performed by Blue Rojo)||Göransson||3:11|
|18.||"No Digas Mi Nombre" (performed by Calle x vida and Foudeqush)||Göransson||3:42|
|19.||"Mi Pueblo" (performed by Guadalupe de Jesús Chan Poot)||Poot||Göransson||2:40|
|20.||"Born Again" (performed by Rihanna)||3:33|
|Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Original Score)|
|Film score by|
|Released||November 11, 2022|
|Ludwig Göransson chronology|
|Marvel Cinematic Universe soundtrack chronology|
Göransson's score was released as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Original Score) by Hollywood Records and Marvel Music on November 11, 2022, the same day as the film's release.
All music is composed by Ludwig Göransson.
|2.||"We Know What You Whisper"||Busiswa||2:36|
|5.||"Lift Me Up" (Score version)||Joselyn Coogler||1:09|
|6.||"He Wasn't There"||Jorja Smith||1:21|
|8.||"They Want It, But No" (Film version)||4:13|
|9.||"Árboles Bajo El Mar" (Film version)||6:30|
|10.||"Lost to the Depths"||1:29|
|11.||"Con La Brisa" (Film version)||2:40|
|13.||"Let Us Burn It Together"||3:40|
|14.||"This Will Mean War"||Magatte Sow||2:09|
|18.||"Who Did You See?"||3:12|
|20.||"Blood for Blood"||1:28|
|22.||"Sink the Ship"||3:51|
|23.||"It Could Have Been Different"||1:53|
|24.||"Vengeance Has Consumed Us"||4:04|
In a four-star review, Rolling Stone writer Maura Johnston stated that the Wakanda Forever soundtrack "breaks that trend with verve and gusto in a way befitting a movie about the world’s most tech-savvy nation" and also stated "Rihanna is the biggest bold-face name but the entire project is musically rich and carefully curated". Dylan Green of Pitchfork had scored the album 6.4/10 and praised the "staggering sonic diversity", but criticised the absence of a curator for the album, as he felt that "the songs are loosely tied to the movie". Nick Harley of Den of Geek reviewed the album positively, saying that the soundtrack "builds off of its predecessor, showcasing household-name artists and Afro-futurist sounds". Jon Pareles of The New York Times mentioned that the album " draws on musicians and instruments from Africa and Mexico along with American and British rappers and singers", adding that the film "revolves around grief, loyalty, vengeance and territorial security, and its music — both the Inspired By album and a separate Original Score album by Goransson — is largely somber, even ominous". Writing for Universal Music New Zealand, Chantal Dalebroux stated "the musical choices reflect this and Wakanda Forever's general narrative progression".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||March 12, 2023||Best Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Pending|||
|AFRIMA||January 15, 2023||Best Soundtrack Movie/Series or Documentary||"No Woman, No Cry" (Tems, Ford, and Göransson)||Won|||
|Black Reel Awards||February 6, 2023||Outstanding Original Soundtrack||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Soundtrack) (Ludwig Göransson, Ryan Coogler, Archie Davis, and Dave Jordan)||Won|||
|Outstanding Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Won|
|"Born Again" (James Fauntleroy, Göransson, Fenty and The-Dream)||Nominated|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||January 13, 2023||Best Original Score||Ludwig Göransson||Nominated|||
|Best Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 10, 2023||Best Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association Creative Arts Awards||February 24, 2023||Best Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Pending|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||November 16, 2022||Best Original Score in a Sci-Fi Film||Ludwig Göransson||Nominated|
|Best Original Song in a Feature Film||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Won|
|Song/Score – Trailer||"No Woman, No Cry" (Tems, Ford, and Göransson)||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||February 25, 2023||Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Soundtrack) (Göransson, Coogler, Davis, and Jordan)||Pending|||
|Outstanding Soul/R&B Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Pending|
|Outstanding Music Video||Pending|
|Outstanding International Song||"No Woman, No Cry" (Tems, Ford, and Göransson)||Pending|
|Satellite Awards||March 3, 2023||Best Original Song||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Pending|
|Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards||February 15, 2023||Outstanding Original Song for a Dramatic or Documentary Visual Media Production||"Lift Me Up" (Tems, Rihanna, Coogler, and Göransson)||Nominated|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards||December 18, 2022||Best Soundtrack||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Soundtrack) (Göransson, Coogler, Davis, and Jordan)||Nominated|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||79|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||38|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||50|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||40|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||7|
|Danish Albums (Hitlisten)||27|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||23|
|French Albums (SNEP)||47|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||73|
|Irish Compilation Albums (IRMA)||2|
|Japanese Digital Albums (Oricon)||26|
|Japanese Hot Albums (Billboard Japan)||90|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||17|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||13|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||47|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||33|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||31|
|UK Compilation Albums (OCC)||3|
|UK Album Downloads (OCC)||40|
|UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC)||23|
|US Billboard 200||12|
|US Soundtrack Albums (Billboard)||1|
|US World Albums (Billboard)||1|
|UK Album Downloads (OCC)||66|
A moving salute to the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman, it serves as a reminder of just how emphatic a vocalist Rihanna truly is – an exquisite vocal turn, it's an emotive R&B ballad that speaks from the heart.