Perhaps best known for his acting career, Idris Elba has long been involved in music and has a pretty impressive list of collaborations under his belt (James Blake, Jay Z, Loose Tapestries, to name a few). Most recently, its been confirmed that he’s going to be DJing at Glastonbury this year after cancelling his appearance at last year’s festival due to filming commitments. The announcement follows Elba’s recent feature on the official remix of grime artist Skepta‘s track Shutdown.
In his verse, Elba name drops some of the characters he is most famous for portraying, including drug kingpin Stringer Bell (The Wire) and detective John Luther (Luther). The collaboration has been months in the making, with Elba first having reached out to Skepta in March with a tweet.
In the months following, the actor-rapper-DJ has been hinting at his involvement in the remix, with Skepta adding that: “Basically a lot of people have asked to jump on the Shutdown remix, I’m not gonna front. But cos of quality control we wanted to make it really big: it’s all about spreading the British sound and culture.”
This isn’t the first time that the two worlds Elbra resides in have come together and in an interview with NME discussing his love for music, he spoke about the popularity of the hybrid: people who can do a few things well. Last year he put out the album Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela, following his time in South Africa for the film Long Walk To Freedom, in which he portrayed the late Nelson Mandela.
In the NME interview, Elba spoke about his desire to put out music after having been hidden away in his bedroom as a producer for too long. He went on to state that in his research, music kept coming up as being very important in connecting him to his role and suggested that mi Mandela might have been the first in a list of role-inspired albums which he refers to “character albums”.