Roc Nation Records/Def Jam Recordings/Hollywood Records

Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, also had a pivotal role in the production of the movie’s soundtrack. When working on the lead single, “Lift Me Up,” Coogler said he was in search of “a great artist who could tell the story of a film, embrace the themes of the film and present them to the audience” — much like Kendrick Lamar did in the first movie.

“It makes sense that it would be a woman, it made sense that it could be someone to speak to, not necessarily the words, but to the feeling of motherhood, because that’s a major, major theme in this film,” he said at a recent press conference. He noted it was well timed that Rihanna, who eventually agreed to do the song, “was in that kind of space in her life.”

“Lift Me Up” marked the singer’s return to music after 2016’s ANTI, but make no mistake, jumping on the song was no act of charity. While Coogler is “super happy” with the end result, he said Rihanna made it clear why she decided to hop on board.

Coogler said, “The truth is, you know, once when she played us the record, you know, she said straight up, ‘I did this for Chad [Boseman].'”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters Friday, November 11. Rihanna has another single on the soundtrack, “Born Again,” that’s dropped to accompany the film’s release.

 

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