Film

First Look: Idris Elba As The Gunslinger in Upcoming Film 'Dark Tower'

Photos of the 'Luther' star on the film set have leaked.

Those of you who wouldn’t bat an eye at drinking Idris Elba’s bathwater will be thrilled to know that behind-the-scene photos of the British actor, clad in cowboy gear, on the set of South Africa-based film, The Dark Tower, have surfaced on the Internet.


It’s a first glimpse of the star, who also lent his voice as lion-villain Shere Khan in Jungle Book, and he looks quite convincing as the brawny gunslinger in the anticipated Sony film adaptation of Stephen King’s western-meets-fantasy eight-part series, which has taken three decades to get the big screen treatment.

Elba’s character will square off against the dubious “Man in Black” a.k.a. Walter Padick played by Matthew McConaughey.

It’s great to see the flick, directed by Nikolaj Arcel and due out in theaters February 2018, is finally in production after quite a bit of speculation, several false starts and studio changes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

See more pics of the Beasts of No Nation  and Luther  star on set over at Daily Mail.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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