Beast: On Set With Idris Elba (Featurette)
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Idris Elba has revealed how he landed a spot on Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster.

In conversation with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show during an appearance to promote his upcoming film Beast, Elba said that he heard that the rapper was going to "work on an album associated with the film" of the same name and that he needed to be on that Jay-Z album.

Elba, who went to great lengths to make that a reality wrote Jay-Z a "long poem" after reaching out to one of the rapper's associates.

However, he said it was intended to be a rap but "didn't sound good as a rap."

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To make the verse work, Elba decided to "speak" the track because Jay-Z might be "a little more accommodating" to his actual voice.

And when he sent it to the rapper, he received a pleasantly unexpected text message.

"I sent it to him, and we got this text back from Jay saying, 'Um, I don't love this — I f****** love it.'"

The verse had Elba expound on the theme of "gangsterment" as the voice of Angel Wood, the drug dealer who fatally underestimates Denzel Washington's character of Frank Lucas in the film.

Jay-Z was clearly taken by the reading and sampled it for the "Intro" track of the album.

"Your gangster is not defined by how many rocks are in your watch, but rather how many rocks you move while owning the watch," Elba says in the cut.

Elsewhere, Elba also appeared on Beatle icon Paul McCartney's 2021 album McCartney III Reimagined. He was also the DJ at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.

"Both these albums I'm on, and both those artists don't know I'm on those albums," Elba said.

He continued: "You know what I mean? I literally hustled my own onto those albums."

Idris Elba Spills on Working with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney (Extended) | The Tonight Showyoutu.be

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