Underneath the scorching radiance of the summer’s sun, Wale has been a giver of musical gifts. “PYT,” his infectious single that samples one of pop’s immortal kings, is simplistic, yet fun - a song for the season that is sure to inspire a joyous reaction from any women who hear it. “PYT” was just an appetizer, though. The main course came with the release of the Summer On Sunset mixtape; Wale was able to conceptualize his relocation to L.A., a new setting that brought a new sound. The mood is sunny and vibrant, full of warm melodies and production, you can almost visualize his new surroundings of famous friends, everlasting parties, and palm trees. Change is never as drastic as it appears, and for all his adapting to a new form, the Wale of old, the wizard of word, is very much apparent throughout the tape, allowing him satisfy the new and old.
“PYT” and Summer On Sunset didn’t stop Wale from dropping four new freestyles last Friday under the SoundCloud playlist, Today… I Got Time - “Heel/Face,” “Solbiato,” “Brightseat Road” and “Sucka For Pain Lost Verse.” All three freestyles are currently still available on his account, but “Sucka For Pain” has completely vanished. Those who heard the verse before the removal caught a glimpse of what Wale would’ve brought to “Sucker for Pain,” the popular single from the Suicide Squad soundtrack. The song has a star studded line up - Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, Logic, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and Ty Dolla $ign.
Wale’s removal from the song is what led him to share his lost verse online, an attempt to show fans what he added to the record, and even though his Twitter was showered with praise, it wasn’t enough to keep DC Comics from making a call to have the the song taken down.
“I love the hook. I love that joint,” Wale shared with me over the phone as he exited one business meeting and prepared to enter another. He begins to sing a short rendition of Dan Reynolds’ chorus as a way of expressing how big of a fan he is. “Everyone did a phenomenal job,” he continued to stress, there's no malice or ill will toward the final version or the movie in his voice - just a pure, artistic desire to have his approach be heard.
He walks me through the songwriting process: “I watched some of the movie early. They had the top writers with the company come in and watch the movie, and write music based off it. I also read up on the comic and characters, and wrote ‘Sucker For Pain’ along with three other songs for Suicide Squad that may never hit the universe because they were written for the movie.”
One of the records he penned is titled “I Feel Safe,” a song based on the relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn: “Me and this dope writer named Prince Charles, who does writing for Beyonce and a bunch of other people, wrote a song called ‘I Feel Safe.’ I used safe as a metaphor like bank robbers breaking into a bank safe, but still making it into a love story.”
Wale’s verse for “Sucker For Pain” was also written from the chaotic viewpoint of Joker and Harley’s dark, twisted love for one another. If you’ve seen the movie, the scene his verse is centered around is the one during Harley’s flashback as she falls into a vat of chemicals that would fully transform her into the Joker’s queen. “I’m like a masochist, come and be my love, you’ll be my safe place if you’ll be my druge,” he raps once I mention the scene, the opening lines of his verse. “That’s like Rock N Roll lyrics” he adds, really painting the picture of his angle.
“I was looking up pictures of Harley Quinn. I treated writing for the movie like a school assignment, doing my own research, sticking to the script, as a writer that’s the least you can do,” Wale explained. “I had an interesting way of setting up to how I wrote it. Even the way I swung my voice, it sounds dark but optimistic. I take my time with music, nothing is an accident with me.”
Most interesting is that Wale wasn’t aware of who else was featured on the song when he submitted his recording. I have to assume that Lil Wayne, Logic, Ty $ Sign, and Wiz were all also isolated when writing and recording their verses. Even though the MMG emcee was brought in to write in late fall, early winter of 2015, he wasn’t made aware that his verse didn’t make the final version until it was brought to his attention about other collaborators and the need to make some cuts.
Atlantic Records' Kevin Weaver spoke with Billboard about the soundtrack, he gave a little insight on the “Sucker For Pain” collaboration:
“How do you logistically make a collaboration like "Sucker For Pain" happen? It's extremely complicated. I worked with my very good friend Alex da Kid on ‘Sucker For Pain.’ He presented us a track and a hook from Imagine Dragons that we all loved for the film. Alex and I basically began reaching out to artists together and having them put verses on the song. Then Alex and I went through the process of A&R-ing that record into the song that you hear today. It's a very laborious process.” - Atlantic Records' Kevin Weaver on Creating the Soundtrack for 'Suicide Squad': 'We Were All in the Trenches Together'
Talking with Wale, it’s clear that he’s a fan of the movie. From praising Will Smith to his disappointment in the villain, he echoed many of the same sentiments that I read from some of the most hardcore reviewers and also a few unique points that showed how deeply captivated he is by the comic.
I asked if being removed from “Sucker For Pain” changed his views on Hollywood, thinking the end result might’ve left him with a bitter taste, but it was the complete opposite. “I got some auditions coming up with major movies. Some people think I’m super animated and think I can do it,” he said with a laugh while shouting out Paradigm, the entertainment talent agency that he’s currently signed under.
He admits to also, “writing music for ‘Birth Of A Nation,’ doing voice overs, and reading for Scorsese.” Wale didn’t just move out to L.A. for fun in the sun, he’s taking advantage of being in Hollywood. Suicide Squad has helped him learn that, just like the music business, the movie business comes with it’s laws and politics.
There’s promise in the world of movies for Wale; the About Nothing projects are essentially adding music and building themes around scenes from Seinfeld. Writing for soundtracks seems to come from a similar creative space - as a writer he’s a perfect fit for the job. Even if his verse remains lost in the legal woes of the entertainment industry, “Heel/Face Freestyle,” “Solbiato Freestyle,” and “Brightseat Road Freestyle” will fill the void for any listeners who might’ve missed out.
It’s likely we may never hear the three other songs Wale wrote for the soundtrack, but there might be some hope. When our call came to a close he left me with a bit of promise for the current vaulted gems, “Maybe I can change a couple words and put them out. Maybe I could do a “Lost Files Movie I Wrote For” project.”
May the lawyers find a way to make this brilliant idea come true.
By Yoh, aka Yohsese aka @Yoh31
Photo Credit: Instagram