Tags: 100th window, alex swift, brixton academy, collected, lee shephard, mos def, nme magazine
NME magazine broke the news in October 2001 that Massive Attack had done a collaboration with hip-hop rapper and occasional turned actor, Mos Def for an as yet undisclosed film project. It was then announced in January 2002 that the film in question would be Blade 2. It was agreed to release the song both simultaneously as a free download single on massiveattack.com and as part of the Blade 2 soundtrack album, both of which came out during March 2002.
This song marks the first appearance of programmer Alex Swift, who would go on along with Lee Shephard to form an integral part of the production team behind Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge for all of Massive Attack’s future releases up until Heligoland.
I Against I was Massive Attack’s second download only single after Nature of Threat in 2000.
3D also used I Against I on his Nocturne Sessions mix album which came out the same month as the download release – March 2002. Beyond that, the song would appear the next year on the Special Cases single, before finally reaching probably it’s largest audience of Massive Attack fans by it’s inclusion on 2006′s Collected “Best Of” album.
Besides I Against I, Massive Attack also made an unnamed instrumental song for inclusion in Blade 2 that is featured at some point during the film but is nowhere to be found on the soundtrack album. It is still unknown exactly where in the film this instrumental appears or what it sounds like.
I Against I has only been played live once ever at the Brixton Academy in London, UK on the 9th July 2004. It is also the only occasion that Mos Def has joined Massive Attack live on stage. This was a lucky occurrence as Mos Def was at the time filming his role in the film “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” at the same time in London and found the time to perform at the show.
Instrumental – The instrumental version of I Against I is exactly that, an instrumental without any vocals but otherwise the same. Included only on the 12″ vinyl promo release.
3D on the initial recording of I Against I – “He (Mos Def) did the lyrics and we completely reconstructed the track, took the lyrics off and started again in our usual fashion. Everyone really likes it so hopefully it’ll appear in some form or another” [NME Magazine - October 2001]
3D looking back on I Against I for Collected – “MINUTES OF FUN SLAMMING SCI-FI BEATS AND ORGANS AGAINST MOS DEF’S MACHINE GUN RAP” [Collected PR - January 2006]
I-ya. I against I. Flesh of my flesh. And mind of my mind. Two of a kind but one won’t survive. My images reflect in the enemies eye. And his images reflect in mine the same time. I-ya, I-ya. I against I. Flesh of my flesh. And mind of my mind. Two of a kind but one won’t survive. Right here is where the end gon’ start at. Conflict, contact ‘n’ combat. Fighters stand where the land is marked at. Settle the dispute about who the livest. Three word answer. Whoever survive this. Only one of us can ride forever. So you and I cant ride together. Can’t live or cant die together. All we can do is collide together. So I skillfully apply the pressure. Won’t stop until I’m forever… One! A door step where death never come. Spread across time til my time never done. And I’m never done. Walk tall, why ever run? When they move if I ever come? Bad man never fret the war, tell’em come. General we have the stock, the mad fire burn. I-ya. I against I. Flesh of my flesh. And mind of my mind. Two of a kind but one won’t survive. My images reflect in the enemies eye. And his images reflect in mine the same time. I-ya, I-ya. I against I. Flesh of my flesh. And mind of my mind. Two of a kind but one won’t survive. Survive (x16) Reign supreme in your U-N-I-V-E-R-S-E with the sharpness.Narrow row building no space for partners. No space for drivers, no space for walkers. No space regardless. Your on my path then get off it. Hardheaded and unresponsive. Get they lives put on target with harshness. Come with the canons sparkin’ they darken. Who am I? One man squadron. Ma stir the fire this time that’d snatch your tomorrow. The thousand yard spear that’ll pierce through your armor. You can get it on right now if you want to. But when ya front 9 get marched through. I warned you. You know who forever belong to. I-ya, I-ya. I against I. Flesh of my flesh. And mind of my mind. Two of a kind but one won’t survive. My images reflect in the enemies eye. And his images reflect in mine, survive! Survive (x16)