Idris Elba Details How He ‘Hustled His Way Onto’ Jay-Z’s ‘American Gangster’ Album

Idris Elba makes a memorable appearance on Jay-Z’s 2007 album American Gangster, speaking on and producing “Intro.” Now Elba has spoken a bit more about how that came to be, telling Jimmy Fallon he “hustled [his] way onto” the album

On The Tonight Show yesterday, Elba (who was in the American Gangster movie on which the album was based) said:

“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. You’re like, ‘I’m Idris, I need to be on that Jay-Z album!’ I had no idea why Jay would be like, ‘Yeah, sure, do it.’ So Lenny S., who works with Jay, was a good friend of Oronde and Oronde’s my guy, and I said, ‘Yo, I’m gonna write this thing.’ And I wrote this long poem… a friend of mine, we wrote this long poem, we put it to a beat. Actually, it was a rap, but it didn’t sound good as a rap. […] I said, ‘Maybe I should speak this,’ because Jay might be a little more accommodating to my speaking voice. And I sent it to him and we got this text back from Jay saying, ‘I don’t love this… I f*cking love it.”

Check out the full interview above.