Quentin Tarantino cut the song he asked Frank Ocean to write from the Django Unchained soundtrack, but not because he didn’t like it. The director called the tune “a fantastic ballad that was truly lovely and poetic in every way,” but said “there just wasn’t a scene for it.”
Happily, Ocean has released the song, called “Wise Man,” himself, via his blog, proving Tarantino right on both counts: It’s hauntingly beautiful, and it doesn’t belong in Django Unchained.
Backed by minimal instrumentation—mostly distorted and echoing guitar chords—Ocean sings about the horrors of slavery in a song reminiscent of his great ballad “Bad Religion.” Django Unchained, as viscerally pleasurable and well-crafted as it is, does not probe as deeply into the psychological and emotional effects of slavery as Ocean does here. “The beast will crawl this earth,” he sings, “Then fall in the dirt to feed the crows/ They’ll rip apart his flesh/ ’Til all that’s left is glorious bone.”