James Blake Dismantles UGK and OutKast’s “Int’l Players Anthem”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 09.19.14 in News

It’s never just happily ever after, is it? UGK and OutKast‘s 2007 single “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” uses a Willie Hutch sample and the distinctive characters played in each character’s verses to create an ecstatic swell: It’s the ending of the movie, and André 3000 is getting lawfully wed to the right “cutie pie.” Except part of what keeps the track from being corny is the cold-eyed anti-romanticism of Bun B and the late Pimp C, not to mention Big Boi’s well-intentioned warnings. In fact, when André 3000′s OutKast partner goes goblin-voiced to stutter, “Ask, ask Paul McCartney,” it could almost be one of the disembodied vocal samples that tend to be cut up by James Blake or his peers.

In 2010, Blake and longtime friend Airhead (his Yeah Yeah Yeahs-channeling “Wait” is a fine place to start) released “Pembroke,” a spectral, languidly oozing piece of bass music. Their mashup of that track with “Int’l Players Anthem” has been floating around, but it’s making fresh headlines after Blake played it last night as part of his BBC Radio 1 residency. New or not, it’s worthy of the attention: “Int’l Pembroke Anthem” casts an uncanny pall over the original’s rapturous celebration. Blake also played “200 Press,” an unreleased track he previously aired on Radio 1, along with tracks from other artists including Flying Lotus, Caribou, Arca and Jai Paul, along with Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell.

Listen to Blake’s latest show over at the BBC’s website. Check out a previous rip of “Int’l Pembroke Anthem” below, and scroll down to hear Blake’s past remix of OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” under his Harmonix alias. In a way, that song asks the question the UGK-”Pembroke” mash-up simply reiterates: “Forever ever?”