Pokémon, Post Malone and Darius Rucker might seem like unusual bedfellows. That is, until you know that Malone owns an old-school Game Boy Color so that he can still play Pokémon on the regular, and that, before Saturday’s Pokémon Day 25th anniversary celebration, Malone’s released a cover of Rucker’s co-written 1995 hit with Hootie and the Blowfish, “Only Wanna Be With You.”
Malone’s new take on the old Hootie song, dubbed the “Pokémon 25 Version,” dropped Thursday, just in time for his Pokémon Day virtual concert at 7:00 p.m. EST / 4:00 p.m. PST, a live showcase Malone previewed previously by turning into an animated character.
The Malone show can be viewed for free on the official Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels and Pokémon’s 25th anniversary website and acts as the start of a yearlong celebration of all things Pokémon with Universal Music Group, and their P25 Music artist-driven series.
As for Rucker, when he discovered his first huge smash as Hootie and the Blowfish was being covered by the face-tatted rapper (just 25-years-old himself, born around the same time as the Hootie hit dropped) the songwriter Tweeted, “The smile on my face will not leave for a long time. This is awesome. My bro @PostMalone bringing it. Hell yes man!!!!!!!!!” before talking to Variety.
— Darius Rucker (@dariusrucker) February 25, 2021
“It’s awesome to see that a song we wrote almost 30 years ago continues to resonate as it really speaks to the lasting life a song can have when people connect with it,” Rucker said. “I love seeing someone like Post put his own spin on it like he does with everything he records.”
Not only is Malone a dear friend of Rucker’s, the country star is thrilled by the rapper’s creativity. “He always has a fresh way to say things,” said Rucker. “I love that he changed ‘the Dolphins make me cry’ to ‘the Cowboys’!”
With Hootie and the Blowfish having covered songs by artists he’s loved (REM’s “Losing My Religion” in particular), Rucker said he was truly flattered to be on the other side of that equation. “I would say the key is just to always have fun with it and make the song your own,” advised Rucker to any other artist, like Malone, who wishes to cover his tracks.
As for his own recent milestone, a tenth country No. 1 with “Beers & Sunshine,” Rucker is bowled over by the accomplishment, and ready to finish his next album, his first full length since 2017’s “When Was the Last Time.”
“To have 10 No. 1s is incredible,” he said. “I just wanted a shot at making music I loved when I first came to Nashville, so I’m really grateful to still be connecting with people all these years later. And to hit that milestone the same week Post covered one of my first songs is a really special full circle moment. We’re working on the next country project, now, finishing that up this summer, and hopefully will put out a full album before the end of the year. I’m ready.”