Beyoncé calls on artists from around the continent for an unforgettable soundtrack.
Much like every time Beyoncé releases an album (or does anything really), the world came to pause today for the release of The Lion King: The Gift album. With Bey at the helm of the project, while also starring in the live-action film as Nala (released in cinemas today), we can’t help but gush at the African influence in the soundtrack and all our local faves adding their flavour.
In the 27-track album, she dubbed ‘a love letter to Africa’, the sounds of our continent are felt in every note. From South Africa, Lebo M came to show off his immense talent once again; having arranged the original Lion King soundtrack we all grew up with, he returned to co-produce this new body of work, leaving his vocal mark on “SPIRIT” too. Another favourite on production is ANATII and how could we not mention Moonchild Sanelly and Busiswa shining on ‘’MY POWER’’, doing gqom as they do best.
Afrobeats are also a huge part of the soundtrack with features from Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Yemi Alade, Major Lazer, Burna Boy, Shatta Wale and more. The soundtrack is a celebration of all the facets of our culture and it is so refreshing for Beyoncé to make room for African artists to keep that level of authenticity. So often, people try to mimmick and gimmick a sound while completely missing the essence of what makes it work. By being intentional about collaboration, the album reiterates our connection to one another musically.
The Circle of Life is reimagined track by track as Beyoncé’s soulful vocals and lush harmonies explore themes of a higher power, our heritage, how still we rise above the unjust from the world and even from family. With a little help from her’s State-side, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy Carter, co-star Childish Gambino, Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lemar and Tierra Whack also feature, bringing together both sides of a black experience through sound. Every few tracks even have interludes of audio snippets from the film, some with James Earl Jones’ soothing reprise as Mufasa that will definitely throw you right back to childhood.The album is both heartfelt and playful, shifting between songs that put you in your feels, to others that make you want to get out your seat and move.
If you’re not going to the cinema to take in the remake, then give the album a listen on Apple Music or Spotify. As you take in elements of our culture, The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack will stand as proof that everything is better when we work together.