How Idris Elba’s Drunk Uncle Got Him To Keep The Beat


When Idris Elba isn’t breaking the internet with Tweets about his dick (not what you think) or a displaced mic cord, he is a talented multi-hyphenate raising the bar on-screen and in the recording studio.

The Brit famously known as Stringer Bell from HBO’s “The Wire” covers this month’s issue of “Details” magazine to promote his new film “No Good Deed.” In the action thriller, he plays Colin, an escaped convict who terrorizes an Atlanta housewife, Terri (played by Taraij P. Henson).  But in the feature fans are given more insight into “Big Driis,” his DJing and rapping alter ego who has collaborated with Jay Z and 9th Wonder on music and rocks crowds in Ibiza. Elba credits his uncle, a London DJ, with getting him his start with moving the crowd at age 12.

“Whenever he had too much fun or got too drunk, I’d take over for him,” Elba told Details. “I grew up on music round the house. It was always something I loved. When I got a little older and I saw you could spin and it’d be a job, well, I never looked back. I always keep it close to me and just love it.”

Idris also recalls his days making beats for his co-stars of “The Wire” in between shoots.

“Me and Wood Harris, who played Avon, and Hassan Johnson, who played Wee Bey,” Elba says, “we’d book out a studio and make records of us rapping. I’d make the beats and chords—just fun, freestyle stuff…When I’m rapping, it’s kind of like this character that I put on. It’s a character who can write songs and lyrics really easily, so therefore I can stand up and do it too.”


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