Lil Wayne, Buju Banton, and Shabba Ranks are the voices behind Jeymes Samuel’s Hallelujah Heaven, one of the first offerings from the star-studded soundtrack of The Book of Clarence, an upcoming film starring LaKeith Stanfield.
Samuel, whose involvement in the film spanned multiple roles, including director, writer and composer, revealed in a statement that collaborating with the trio of Wayne, Buju and Ranks was “dope.”
He told Rolling Stone: “I worked with the most awesome artists on our track Hallelujah Heaven. Collaborating with Lil Wayne, Buju Banton, and Shabba Ranks was so dope, I loved getting them all on the same track.”
The track mixes a variety of sounds to make space for the artistic personalities of each singer, and managed to keep pace with different flows from Buju, Ranks and Wayne, without sounding like a mashup of incongruent verses.
Buju Banton held firmly to a deeply religious interpretation of the track, littering his verse with references to God, martyrdom, and scripture, while Shabba Ranks had a similar approach. Lil Wayne, however, rapped a largely secular spill on the Samuels-produced track, which ultimately provided the balance that reflected the spirit of the film.
Set in 33 AD, its plot will follow the life of Clarence (played by Stanfield) – a regular guy living in Jerusalem, who decides to become a Messiah himself after crossing paths with Jesus Christ.
The film also comes with a star-studded cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, David Oyelowo, and Michael Ward, among others.
Lil Wayne, Buju Banton, and Shabba Ranks also round out the rest of the musical heavyweights for the film’s backing soundtrack, which features new music from Jay Z, who is listed as a producer for the film, and music from Kid Cudi, Jorja Smith, Yemi Alade, Jorge Ben Jor and more.
Samuel, who has largely steered the production of the project, told Rolling Stone that: “There was never a question as to whether I would compose the score and write and perform on the soundtrack, as well as write and direct the movie — it was all one amazing journey where one depended on the other.”
It is worth noting that Samuels has a sterling track record of collaborating with Jamaican artists. While serving as director for Netflix’s smash 2021 hit film, The Harder They Fall, he tapped Barrington Levy for Better Than Gold and for a remix of Levy’s hit Here I Come.
Koffee was also tapped for the soundtrack of the Jonathan Majors-starred film, where she performed The Harder They Fall, written by Samuel and Jay Z.
In the meantime, The Book of Clarence is set to be released in January 2024. Listen to ‘Hallelujah Heaven’ above.