After co-producing and performing on the intro for Jay Z's American Gangster album – Idris has firmly arrived in Hip-hop's inner circle, after all the Jigga Man doesn't let just anyone produce for him but then again Idris Elba is hardly anyone.
Idris may have landed in our conciousness as the fantastically Machiavellian character Stringer Bell in hit TV series The Wire, but since leaving the show the gravely-voiced actor has gone on to become a major player in Hollywood and the music industry.
2008 has been a hectic year for the Hackney-born actor after starring in American Gangster, shooting a film with Beyonce and finishing a forthcoming album with Hip-hop producer supremo, 9th Wonder.
So what's next for our favourite Brit bad boy? We caught up with Big 'Dris to talk music and the real rock and rolla.
How did you enjoy the Rock n Rolla première?
Idris Elba: It was good, yeah it was huge. I didn't expect it to be that huge but the whole process of making the film has been a lot of fun.
How did you come aboard the film?
Idris Elba: Guy called me up and said that he would love it if I could get involved and do the film. I think Guy's a great film maker so I jumped at the chance.
Tell me about your character Mumbles in Rock n Rolla?
Idris Elba: I play Mumbles who is part of this raggedy crime team who go running around London. Me and Gerald Butler play partners who are a part of this gang. Basically all we do is steal some money and get beat down by some Russians – it's real crazy but was a lot of fun to make.
What was it like working with Guy Ritchie – he looks a bit moody.
Idris Elba: No he's not moody at all but his films are run really tightly. It's hugely ambitious to make a movie like this in London, so working with Guy was a real privilege for me. He pulled it together so quickly and the film had a fantastic cast and there were no egos on set. I wanted to do some comedy, so this worked well for me.
You have just finished filming Obsessed which co-stars Beyonce – what was it like working with her?
Idris Elba: Yeah we just wrapped that up, we worked on it for eight weeks and it was a really good experience. Beyonce as an actress to me was really fresh and exciting in her approach. Typically actors come on set and they're more concerned with other things but Be' was really focussed on how she could improve as an actress. There was a lot of support from her camp as to how we could make this film good. Ali Larter who also co-stars is great too, she's a brilliant actress.
I loved your last EP Big Man. Are you working on any music projects at the moment?
Idris Elba: I've just wrapped up an LP with the producer 9th Wonder. It's really exciting music as he really challenges you. After three weeks in the studio with him, we churned out something that I'm really proud of. I'm just in the process of mixing it now, so I'm hoping to release it early next year at some point. I'm also looking to release a single soon.
What were the influences for this project with 9th Wonder?
Idris Elba: This album is kind of soulful and I attempted to do stuff I haven't as an artist yet. I've got a track with Styles P that Trevor nelson will première on 1Xtra.
Are there any collaborations?
Idris Elba: I did a song with Angie Stone, she's an old friend of mine so she blessed me but we weren't really pushing for collaborations this time around. Reason being, people expect me to fall on my face they will think the record has only done well because Kanye or someone is on it. I'd rather people just like it for what it is. I know pretty much everyone in the music industry now so I could have worked with some great people but I just wanted to do me.
Who else would you like to work with in the future?
Idris Elba: I really just want to work with people who are like me, in the sense that they are artists who do different things and want to experiment and break stereotypes. I liked working with Beyonce because she is a singer as well as an actress and she challenges herself. I don't care if they're famous or not, it's about if you've got the challenge to go in and do something different.
Are you still dee-jaying?
Idris Elba: Yeah, every now and then I deejay. I recently dee-jayed for a Michael Jordan party which was pretty cool.
By: Michelle Adabra