"It was brought to my attention there are a lot of artists in the hip-hop world that are big, true fans of this beloved property," Paramount Pictures president of music Randy Spendlove tells Billboard. "We felt we should reach out to guys who really love the franchise and build an event."
The melody of "Shell Shocked" comes from the film’s score by Brian Tyler and is repeated throughout the film. Capitol Records artist Moxie Raia wrote the chorus and sings on the track as well. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will be in theaters on Aug. 8.
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Soon after the music discussion started, Spendlove received a photo of Wiz Khalifa with a circle around a Donatello tattoo on his calf. Khalifa was the first call to participate on the track.
Ty Dolla $ign and Juicy J were also fans of the Turtles, which started as a comic book in 1984, became a TV show in 1987 and spawned three popular films in the '90s. The franchise was last heard from in 2007 with the poorly received "TMNT." Its largely pop-hip-hop soundtracks in the ‘90s featured tracks by the likes of M.C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice and Technotronic; the last film veered in a modern rock direction.
"When they asked me to do it, just being a fan and being a musician, it made sense," Khalifa said in a statement. "In my generation, I think everyone who listens to me loves the Turtles as much as I do, so it just made sense."
Initially, the song was to include A$AP Rocky, but scheduling issues – he was in the U.K. – prevented him from participating in the video. "We opted to leave him off the track," says Spendlove, noting, "I think we’ll see something special from him that he’ll do on his own in honor of the 'Ninja Turtles.'"