Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” was my favorite movie of 2018 by far. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a true story set in the early 1970s about the first Black cop at the Colorado Springs Police Department, a man named Ron Stallworth. The movie focuses on how he, with the help of his partner, infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan. It is a powerful, striking movie, with important references to today’s racial inequality. Commanding, telling, and surprisingly comedic, it’s a must-see.
Something I loved about this movie right from the beginning was the soundtrack. Terence Blanchard, who’s worked with Spike Lee on several other films, served as the composer for “BlacKkKlansman.” Though the film includes a variety of old-school funk and R&B tracks, Blanchard’s original composition is fantastic. He meshes the classical sounds of violin with a crooning electric guitar, mimicking a Hendrix-esc sound. According to Blanchard, he wanted to imbibe this sound because it reminded him of when Jimi Hendrix performed the national anthem at Woodstock:
I kept thinking that was one of the most patriotic things I’d ever heard. It seemed like me that he was screaming that we were all Americans.Terence Blanchard (Source)
Most of the songs play off the same riff, which can be heard best in “Main Theme – Ron.” However, some stray into intense, sometimes frightening tones. For example, the last scenes in the movie tie the plot to real-life footage of modern events. Underlined with Blanchard’s “Photo Opps,” it creates a sinister tone that really drives home the film’s message.
It’s a dramatic and dynamic soundtrack, truly reflecting the intensity of the movie. As the scenes switch quickly from light-hearted to fierce, the music follows suit. One of my favorite moments is when Ron and his girlfriend, Patrice, are dancing to “Too Late To Turn Back Now” by The Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose at the club. The music is perfectly picked to match the mood of the scene.
“BlacKkKlansman’s” soundtrack is truly one of the best I’ve ever heard. It reflects the feeling of the movie perfectly. Now, go watch the movie and give it a listen!