Vince Staples, Cyn and Zhu will join Katy Perry, J Balvin, Post Malone and Mabel to celebrate Pokémon’s 25th anniversary by contributing music to two upcoming EPs, Billboard is exclusively announcing on Thursday (Aug. 5).
The Pokémon 25: The Blue EP and Pokémon 25: The Red EP, which pay homage to the original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue video games, are part of the yearlong P25 Music collaboration with Universal Music Group to celebrate a quarter-century of the legendary video game franchise, which Perry kicked off in January.
“The Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue video games introduced the world to Pokémon 25 years ago and we wanted to recognize that important part of the franchise in our 25th anniversary celebrations within the P25 Music campaign,” Colin Palmer, vice president of marketing at the Pokémon Company International, said in a press statement. “Pokémon fans will appreciate the nod to the first Pokémon video games with these EPs, while music fans will enjoy new songs and remixes from exciting artists on these dual collections.”
Staples, Cyn and Mabel — who was previously announced as part of the Pokémon and UMG venture with her single “Take It Home” — are highlighted on the three-song Red EP due Friday via Capitol Records. Apart from the upbeat electro-pop number “Take It Home,” Red also features the twinkling, synth-driven, cognizant track “Got ‘Em” by Staples and the breezy, feel-good, percussion-heavy anthem “Wonderful” by Cyn, who is signed to Perry’s Unsub Records.
“Like many kids, I grew up with Pokémon and I jumped at the chance to be part of P25 Music when I got the call,” Staples tells Billboard in a statement. “Now, I also get to be part its legacy in my own way by lending my voice and music to this big moment. My track ‘Got ‘Em’ wasn’t just inspired by Pokémon, it’s about Pokémon. I think it’s really going to be special for all the fans out there who were very into Pokémon as a kid and continue to appreciate it to this day like myself.”
Adds Cyn: “‘Eggs hatch when they want to’ is my favorite line from ‘Wonderful.’ Of course, eggs don’t really have any control over when they hatch, but what I find to be true as I grow further into adulthood is that the universe has a way of telling us when we are ready whether or not we realize it for ourselves. That’s what I meant when I wrote that line. I think there are many moments in the Pokémon world where a protagonist discovers they are actually ready for an obstacle ahead which is always a welcomed surprise.”
Zhu remixed all three songs for the Blue EP, which will be released at a later date. “When I was young, one of my first Gameboy games was Pokémon Red version, so I’m happy to be the artist they called to create the ‘alternate’ version of this dual song collection a part of the 25th anniversary,” the EDM artist/producer/DJ says. “Gengar is my favorite Pokémon and I know he would bump these tracks.”
Capitol Records will also release a full-length album, titled Pokémon 25: The Album this fall. The project will feature a total of 13 songs by 11 UMG artists, including the Red EP songs by Mabel, Cyn and Staples. Zhu’s remixes will be included on the digital edition of the LP.
Perry’s “Electric” track and Malone’s cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You” will also appear on the Pokémon 25 album track list. The new version of “Only Wanna Be With You” hit No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March following Post’s performance at the virtual concert in February.