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SoundTRAX: "Queen & Slim"

The cover of the "Queen & Slim" features the stars of the movie and artists involved.
Universal Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Today's choice is a relatively recent film, Queen & Slim, which came out on this day in 2019.

Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya start out as a couple on an unsuccessful first date that culminates in a fatal altercation with an overly-aggressive police officer, played by none other than Kentucky's own Sturgill Simpson.

The couple feel forced to go on the run and while their relationship deepens, their situation only worsens.

It's not a feel-good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the message is a timely one about, not the least of which, racism and police brutality.

In addition to Sturgill, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea also appears in the film, but sadly, neither contribute to the soundtrack.

But that's okay, it's still really solid.

First of all the score is by Devonté Hynes, better known as Blood Orange. Director Melina Matsoukas told Time magazine:

“I wanted a Black composer that could live between classical, hip-hop, and pop that’s current. I was like, ‘Who would be our current Quincy Jones?’”

Matsoukas asked for advice from her friend, Solange, who immediately suggested Hynes.

Contributors to the official soundtrack include Hynes himself, as well as Megan Thee Stallion, Raphael Saadiq, Bilal, Vince Staples, BJ the Chicago Kid, Burna Boy, and Moses Sumney.

But for today's SoundTRAX selection I'm going with an artist who expressed interest in providing a song for the film but is notorious for being well, slow, when it comes to releasing music— in fact at the time she hadn't released any new music for over five years. But producers were shocked and thrilled when she came through.

So from Queen & Slim, it's Ms. Lauryn Hill with "Guarding the Gates."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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