Why Did Rihanna Make Music For ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?’

Now that Marvel’s highly-anticipated Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever sequel is out, the super-hyped companion soundtrack is also available. It features songs from Rihanna, Tems, E-40, Burna Boy, Stormzy, and more. Of course, all of the buzz has been about Rihanna’s two tracks, “Lift Me Up,” and “Born “Again,” which serve as the Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever Soundtrack’s opening and closing tracks, respectively.

For Rihanna to be making new solo music for the first time since Anti dropped in 2016 is notable in and of itself. But the fact that her first new songs were part of the Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever Soundtrack raised questions as to why and how she came to be on the project to begin with.

Why Did Rihanna Make Music For ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?’

Director Ryan Coogler was asked point blank about Rihanna’s involvement in the soundtrack during a press conference for the film. He said that he couldn’t take “sole credit” for getting Rihanna involved in the project, citing both composer Ludwig Göransson’s reputation, as well as Roc Nation’s Jay Brown and Jay-Z for helping to make the connection to Rihanna. Before revealing what Rihanna saw in the project, he first spoke about why she was such a great fit:

“But the truth is, we were looking for a great artist who could tell the story of the film, and embrace the themes of the film, and present them to the audience in a different packaging. You know, that’s what Kendrick did for us so beautifully with the first film. And this film is different. You know, it made sense that it would be a woman, it made sense that it could be someone who could speak to, not necessarily the words, but the feeling of motherhood, because that’s a major theme in this film.”

Then, he explained that how the trailer was the driving force for piquing her interest:

“And I think it timed up, that she was in that kinda space in her life. And she was open and it was really the trailer I think that, when she saw the performances that everybody was putting down in the trailer, that was what kinda put her over the edge and she said, ‘Hey, I wanna see this film, I wanna see if I can figure this out.’ We collaborated with this incredible singer Tems. And she and I wrote the words, Ludwig made the music. The music was recorded on, like, three continents.”

No easy task, but the songs are beautiful. “Lift Me Up” serves as an homage to the legacy of actor Chadwick Boseman and the rest in now film, music, and Rihanna history.