The sentimental ballad serves as the lead single for the Ryan Coogler-directed sequel, written in tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. The 43-year-old originally played T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther, in the inaugural film, and died of Cancer in 2020. Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna, and Coogler all collaborated on writing the song.
Speaking on the song’s creation, Tems issued a statement last year speaking about working with the Fenty founder and more.
“After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life,” she stated. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
She added, “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
The ballad debuted at No. 1 on several Billboard charts, including the Billboard Hot R&B Songs, R&B Streaming Songs, R&B Digital Song Sales, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs charts. It also peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Aside from the song’s charting success, it also earned a nod from the 2023 Golden Globes. RRR‘s “Naatu Naatu” took home the award.
“Lift Me Up’s” Oscar nod is up against Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, the aforementioned “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, and more high contenders for the category of Original Song.