Idris Elba is well known for his role in the 2007 film American Gangster starring Denzel Washington. The British actor was also featured on the intro track of the Jay-Z 2007 album of the same name. During a recent interview on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Elba spoke about how he “hustled” his way onto the album
“So I was in American Gangster and at the time I heard Jay was about to do an album associated with the film and I was like, ‘I need to get on that.’ As you do. No idea why JAY-Z would be like, ‘Yeah, sure! Do it,” Elba said.
The actor added, “So Lenny S., who works with Jay, was a good friend of Oronde [Garrett, Elba’s manager]. I wrote this long poem [with] a friend of mine, we put it to a beat — actually it was a rap, but it didn’t sound good as a rap, so I said, ‘Maybe I should speak this.’ ‘Cause Jay might be a little more accommodating to my speaking voice.”
Elba then said that he sent it to Jay-Z who texted him back “I don’t love this. I f*cking love it.”
You can check out the clip below as well as the song.