“I Got 5 on It” by Luniz is first heard playing as the Wilson family drives to Adelaide’s childhood beachside home, serving as the basis for a sweet little exchange between generations. But once events take a turn for the sinister, the song itself follows suit, slowing down and transitioning into an ominous new variation. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peele explained the track’s inclusion, drawing a comparison to another horror movie composition that makes a surprising amount of sense when you think about it.
“That song, it came pretty simple, I’m making a movie in Northern California, that’s a bay area hip-hop classic and I wanted to explore this very relatable journey of being a parent [and] maybe some of the songs you listened to back in the day aren’t appropriate for your kids. So that was one level, and another part was, I love songs that have a great feeling but also have a haunting element to them and I feel like the beat in that song has this inherent cryptic energy, almost reminiscent of the Nightmare on Elm Street soundtrack. So those were the ideas that that song hit the bullseye on for me, and also, it’s just a dope track.”
While the classic theme music for A Nightmare on Elm Street may not seem to have that much in common with a 1995 west coast hip-hop track, the bass-line and bells from “I Got 5 on It” certainly have a spooky quality to them, especially when removed from their original context.
Also of note in Peele’s statement is his comments on wanting to reflect the journey of parenthood, since it looks like the family dynamic is going to be central to the drama of Us. After all, this is basically a movie about a family attacking itself, with Peele explaining previously that the film explores the notion that “we are our own worst enemies.” Complicating matters further is the fact that Adelaide is still haunted by some trauma from her past, suggesting that the horror of this feature is very much of the psychological variety – if not literally, then at least metaphorically.
In any case, Us remains a project of many mysteries, but you can expect some answers when the film hits theaters on March 15th, 2019.