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Since making his film-scoring debut with 1991’s Jungle Fever, Blanchard has reteamed with Spike Lee on nearly all of the legendary director’s subsequent projects up to and including his latest narrative feature, 2020’s Da 5 Bloods. Blanchard’s muscular score, at once brooding and sweeping, is perfectly matched to the grand scale of Lee’s rigorous, richly ambivalent Vietnam war epic. Anchored by towering, uncompromising performances from Delroy Lindo and Chadwick Boseman, the narrative follows a squad of four aged veterans returning to the Vietnamese jungle to recover the remains of their fallen leader—and a cache of gold from a downed CIA aircraft that they had stashed during a wartime expedition decades earlier.

A searing and unsparing work of historical reckoning, Lee’s film is one of the few Hollywood productions ever to explore the lived experiences and complicated cultural legacies of Black Americans who were conscripted to serve overseas in a deadly imperial conflict as the fight for racial equality continued to rage back home.