Meaning Behind “Sucker for Pain” by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and Imagine Dragons, and Why Everyone on the Track is Shouting Furiously

Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and Imagine Dragons pack into the track “Sucker for Pain” like clowns in a tiny car. However, these clowns are the scary ones. (Though some of you reading this might think all clowns are scary, and that’s perfectly fair).

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And anything to do with the Joker, Harley Quinn, and their misfit squad conjures images of deraigned jesters.

Joining “Sucker for Pain’s” bedlam are X Ambassadors, Logic, and Ty Dolla $ign, rounding out a dense track from the 2016 film soundtrack for Suicide Squad.

Read on to discover why everyone on this rap-rock rage track is shouting furiously.


In “Sucker for Pain,” a squad of antihero artists rap and rock about self-destruction. The track sounds chaotic and unsettling, fitting for DC Comic villains.

I torture you. Take my hand through the flames
I torture you. I’m a slave to your games
I’m just a sucker for pain
I wanna chain you up, I wanna tie you down (ooh-ooh)
I’m just a sucker for pain

Feeling alienated from society, the all-star group explains their bad decisions in cartoon soliloquies about self-inflicted pain. Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds delivers the hook with his familiar arena-rock bark.

Walk slow through the fire
Like, who gon’ try us?
Feeling the world go against us (against us)
So we put the world on our shoulders

When there’s no one left to blame, you blame everyone. The squad narrates characters who feel backed into a corner, with the crushing weight of the world under a failed system.

Suicide Squad

Based on the DC Comics antihero team Task Force X, the story continues after Superman’s death with a new collection of criminals and supervillains battling metahumans.

Preparing for war, the United States employs inmates from Belle Reve prison, including Harley Quinn and the Joker. “Sucker for Pain” mirrors the warped relationship between Quinn and the Joker but also the general anguish of the antihero. It also illustrates the U.S. government’s uncomfortable relationship with the people it needs to fight its metahuman war.


Leaving comic book fiction for real life, Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero,” the lead single from Midnights, humanized the plight of the DC characters. In Swift’s reality, she examines her need to control things while battling “self-loathing.”

Insecurity is the heartbeat of the antihero. The character is desperate to be a hero, reinforcing self-doubt by the need to be liked or to feel needed. On TikTok, Swift called her song a “guided tour through all the things I hate about myself.”

Here’s a lyric snippet from Swift’s “Anti-Hero”:

I wake up screaming from dreaming
One day, I’ll watch as you’re leaving
’Cause you got tired of my scheming

Now read it against Lil Wayne’s track:

Do it for the fam, dawg, ten toes down, dawg
Love and the loyalty, that’s what we stand for (uh-huh)
Alienated by society
All this pressure give me anxiety (anxiety, anxiety)

Both passages speak to the fear of abandonment. You don’t need the comic book version where supervillains blow through cities in masks and capes to sympathize with how rejection stings.

The Joker Can’t Help Himself

In Suicide Squad’s exploded world, the characters default to nihilism. When people are pushed to the brink, blinded by the fiction that the world is against them, they react from paranoid delusion.

The Joker suffers from narcissism, and responsibility cannot replace blame for him and the other villains. There’s no remorse in “Sucker for Pain”; instead, the squad defaults to anguish.

Proof of narcissism appears in the line: So we put the world on our shoulders. The squad’s self-righteous justifications for deviousness feed their collective delusion.

Superhero vs. Scorsese

Another sign of the bigger-faster-more times is the long list of artists on the track—a condition of the Spotify-induced collaboration era.

In 2019, Martin Scorsese wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, explaining his controversial negative comments about superhero movies.

“In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk,” he wrote. “Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well-made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all.”

You can say similar things about the music business, where risk-averse teams of songwriters and producers fill pop song credits.

According to Box Office Mojo, Suicide Squad grossed $750 million worldwide.

Maybe everyone’s just a sucker for pain.

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Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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