- The creepy, remixed “I Got 5 On It” musical number in “Us” was never supposed to be in the movie.
- The movie’s composer, Michael Abels, told Business Insider that because it was such a hit when it was featured in the movie’s first trailer, writer-director Jordan Peele knew he had to have it in the movie, too.
- So he and Abels ditched the original plan to feature music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” in a key scene and replaced it with a creepy musical “I Got 5 On It” version composed by Abels.
Warning: Spoilers below if you haven’t seen “Us.”
It turns out you can thank the Universal marketing department for that creepy “I Got 5 On It” musical rendition in Jordan Peele’s “Us.”
The latest dark tale from the writer-director of “Get Out” has many chilling moments, but one of the biggest is how the beloved 1995 rap song, “I Got 5 On It,” from the group Luniz, is used as a frightening musical number in the movie’s most dramatic scene.
And if it weren’t for its use in the movie’s first trailer, Peele would never have thought of putting the remix of the song in the movie.
“I Got 5 On It” was always meant to be in the movie. But initially, it was just supposed to be played during the scene when the Wilson family is in the car, it plays on the radio, and they all begin to sing along and snap their fingers. But then Peele decided to use the song for the reveal of the Wilsons’ doppelgangers in the trailer, as well. Peele had the marketing team at Universal take the track Luniz sampled on the song, which is Club Nouveau’s “Why You Treat Me So Bad,” and give it the drawn-out, spine-tingling remix you hear in the trailer.
Michael Abels, the “Us” composer, said the popularity of the trailer made Peele realize it had to be in the movie.
“He knew he had to deliver on that,” Abels told Business Insider over the phone on Wednesday.
Abels, who along with “Us” also composed the score for “Get Out,” said that before the trailer there was no plan to put in the movie a musical remix of the sample in “I Got 5 On It.” Originally, the scene in which Adelaide and Red (both played by Lupita Nyong’o) have their battle at the end of the movie was going to feature “Pas de Deux” from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” (a small sampling of the music is still featured just before the fight scene).
With that musical arrangement already cut into the scene, Peele scrapped it and asked Abels to come up with the creepy “I Got 5 On It” version.
Abels said he used a string orchestra as his guide.
“Jordan really loves space in music,” he said. “He realizes the tension that silence provides, so I put a distance between the baseline and the melody so there’s a pause and because of that you don’t know how long that pause is and it really builds tension.”
Abels then took what he had and with editor Nicholas Monsour put together a mock-up with the Adelaide/Red battle footage to show Peele.
“His eyes just lit up,” Abels said of the mock-up Peele saw. “He knew it was going to work.”
That led to weeks of tweaks to compose the music. And finally, as picture lock neared, Abels got the orchestra to record the music, which only took a half hour to complete.
The creepy “I Got 5 On It” orchestra version, which will also be featured on the soundtrack, is titled “Pas de Deux,” because Abels said like Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” in “Us” it’s set during “a dance of two people.”
Abels said it’s stuff like this that has made it exciting to work with Peele on his movies.
“I never thought I would be redoing ‘I Got 5 On It’ and that’s just part of Jordan being creative and wanting to entertain,” he said. “Each time is a new adventure.”
“Us” is currently playing in theaters.