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Beyoncé Releases ‘The Lion King: The Gift,’ And You Bet It’s on Repeat

Is there anything Beyoncé can’t do? We know she’s had a couple acting roles here and there, but nothing has compared to her starring in the remake of The Lion King, where she voices the character of Nala. Now, ahead of the premiere of Lion King, Beyoncé blessed us again by releasing an entire album to accompany the new soundtrack, entitled The Lion King: The Gift. 

The highly-anticipated remake of the 1994 Disney classic, The Lion King stars Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film. The Grammy award-winning artist released the 14-track album, The Lion King: The Gift, featuring songs that are inspired by the story though not necessarily directly connected to the film or the classics from the original soundtrack.


“I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa and not just use some of the sounds or did my own interpretation of it,” she said in the interview with Good Morning America. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful to the music in Africa.” Through the help of six famous Nigerian musicians including Tekno, Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and WizKid, Beyoncé was able to deliver that authentic sound. Ghana’s Shatta Wale, Cameroon’s Salatiel and South Africa’s Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly are also featured on the album.

Tracks include “Don’t Jealous Me” featuring Tekno, Yemi Alade, and Mr. Eazi and Burna Boy gets his solo in“Ja Ara E,” while tracks like “Mood 4 Eva” performed by Childish Gambino, Jay and Beyoncé includes references to Nelson Mandela and Fela Kuti. Cameroonian singer Salatiel is an up and comer whose talent shines through on the track “Water,” singing alongside Bey and Pharrell.
Beyoncé called it a “love letter to Africa” but in true Beyoncé fashion, it’s still a personal, family affair, most apparent in the ode “Brown Girl Skin,” which includes writing credit for 7-year-old Blue Ivy. The song promotes Black pride with lyrics like “your skin is not only dark, it shines and it tells your story.”

Songs directly inspired by the film include “Find Your Way Back,” where Mufasa gives Simba some fatherly advice and “Otherside,” a powerful ballad about Mufasa’s death. The song “Scar” is a collaboration with Reyez and 070 Shake — it’s a unique characterization on the villainous character. Ahead of the album release, she also premiered a music video for lead single “Spirit” which opens with the Swahili phrase “Uishi kwa mda mrefu Mfalme” meaning “Long live the King.” The video was filmed at Arizona’s Havasu Falls and features Blue Ivy and Beyoncé wearing custom made African outfits and accessories from Dakar, Senegal.

“I feel like the soundtrack becomes visual in your mind,” Beyoncé told GMA. “It’s a soundscape. It’s more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film.” It’s safe to say we’ll be listening to this album on repeat this weekend.