JAMMIN AT THE GYM

Raheel Ramzanali: Ranking the workout songs from the Black Panther soundtrack

The Black Panther soundtrack has great workout songs. Youtube.com

This week Marvel’s highly anticipated Black Panther will finally come out after years of anticipation and early last week the soundtrack for the movie was released. While most soundtracks feature mostly instrumentals, Black Panther’s soundtrack was produced by Grammy winning artist Kendrick Lamar so it sounds and plays like a traditional hip hop album. While I love a good Hans Zimmer track in my workout playlist (shout out to Time on the Inception album!),  you normally can’t finish off the last five minutes of cardio to most movie soundtracks. The Black Panther soundtrack is different. This soundtrack is tailor made for your workout playlist so I want to rank the most “workoutable” songs on this album from 1-13.

  1. Pray For Me by The Weeknd - Unlike most writers, I’m starting with the best stuff and giving you the most workoutable song. This song was destined to be your go to song for that PR set or the jam to get you started on cardio day. I’m not the biggest fan of the Weeknd, but he does the damn thing on this song. Get ready to squat until you can’t when the chorus hits. Getting tired? You just need Kendrick’s, “You need a hero, look in the mirror, there go your hero.” I’ve listened to this song at least 38 times since the soundtrack released. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. Redemption by Zacari - This is a huge upset because All The Stars is a GREAT workout song and I’ve had it on my playlist for a month now, but after listening to the soundtrack multiple times, this song here goes so hard. I had it on while playing basketball and pretty much the game stopped so we could all get in a booty pop. The beat is great and will provide you with that much needed boost during your sessions.

  3. All The Stars  by Kendrick Lamar - When I first heard this song last month I couldn’t believe I liked it since I’m not the biggest Lamar fan, but even he couldn’t make me hate this song. This is such a built for Top 40 radio station song with the themes of love, use of Sza, and leftover Rihanna beat, but it works so damn well. This is also the first song by Sza that didn’t make me question everything I know about relationships and love. My one pet peeve with this song? The way Sza pronounces “closer” - y'all sure she isn’t saying kosher?! Best time to play this song? Right when you start your workout.

  4. King’s Dead by Kendrick Lamar - MISS ME WITH THAT BULLSH*T! If you were looking for a “traditional” sounding K.Dot song then this is the one. The beat brings it and the features by Jay Rock and Future really bring that extra eyyyyyyy we’re looking for in a workout song.  Just when you think this song is done - oh snap, James Blake on it! Everything changes from here and Kendrick Lamar takes us home.

  5. X by ScHoolboy Q - I’ll admit it, I don’t even know who or what a ScHoolboy Q is, but I’m into it now. We’re now entering the part of this list where you could shuffle 5-8 and they’ll be about the same in the workoutable measurement. At this point it’s just really good background music that will keep you going during your workout. I’m putting this song at 5 out of respect to 2 Chainz and his feature.

  6. Big Shot by Kendrick Lamar - Please, please, please don’t kill me for putting this at six since Houston’s own Travis Scott is on this track. I really like this song, but to me it falls into the category where the songs really don’t pop, but still are good workout songs. Bonus to Scott for always mentioning Houston on major projects.

  7. Opps by Vince Staples - I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can already tell you this song’s instrumental will be used in the most dope fight scene we’ve ever seen in the Marvel Universe. This song will bring it so hard in the movie, but as for a workout song? It’s just another song. I have a feeling most will not agree on this ranking.

  8. Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar - If you LOVE Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical mastery then this song is for you, but it really doesn’t have that IT factor for a workout song so it comes in at eight.

  9. Paramedic!  by SOB x RBE - Good beat, catchy chorus, and features from a bunch of guys, but man this song just doesn’t work for me. You might like it, but this one won’t be making my workout playlist.  

  10. Bloody Waters by Ab-Soul - See above. (Sidenote, this song is a setup for King’s Dead so it does flow nicely if you put em back to back like they are on the soundtrack.)

  11. The Ways by Khalid - We’ve now hit the portion of the list where the tracks are really good for a cool down or warm-up. Need to bring that heart rate down some? Put on this love ballad and just let Khalid and Swae Lee bring a smile to your face as you check out your gym crush that can bench more than you.

  12. I Am by Jorja Smith - I can’t get Jorja’s voice out of my head. It’s haunting. It’s beautiful. Damn, this is such a good song to have on while you’re setting the mood with that special someone, but I just can’t see myself using this in the gym. Maybe for couples yoga or sitting in the sauna just so I can make it awkward for others in there with me.

  13. Seasons by Mozzy - This song doesn’t have workout beat you need, but damn Reason brings it in this song.

 

So there you go, enjoy this soundtrack and movie! Let me know what you think by tweeting me @The_Raheel.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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