News

How Idris Elba Jumped On VIP & Reggie Rockstone's 'Selfie'

Hiplife pioneer Reggie Rockstone tells us how he got Idris Elba to rap in pidgin English on the remix of "Selfie" with VIP & Phyno.


Earlier this year, hiplife pioneer Reggie Rockstone linked up with Ghanaian group VIP to drop a pop ode to the never-dying hand-held self portrait, "Selfie," under the joint group name of VVIP. Fast forward a couple months, and a remix version of the track surfaced with an unexpected feature from actor Idris Elba and Nigerian star Phyno. Since then, the revisited "Selfie" remix has been heating up the 'afrobeats' charts. We reached out to Reggie Rockstone to get the backstory behind this unlikely collaboration, the Accra legend shed light on how he met Idris Elba in Ghana while the actor was shooting the Cary Fukunaga-directed Beasts Of No Nation and recorded this rising tune:

[Idris and I] have a mutual friend (Tony Tagoe) and I own a very popular night club/lounge (Rockstones Office and Django Bar) all in Accra, the capital. I knew from Tony months before, about brother Idris coming to Ghana to shoot a movie and also what a great earthling he was. And as a night joint owner, it was only slick and sensible we hosted him. He finally came to Ghana and got busy shooting the movie!

We would meet on an off-night for him... Idris is a real humble human and so his vibes spread out to all who were around him. I... carry myself in a similar manner and so we connected. I recently joined a legendary group called VVIP and dropped a hot single "selfie" (came out bout the same time as The Chainsmokers version). The tune came on in the joint and all lit up with Idris looking on and boppin his head. I just asked him, "Bro! U wanna jump on the remix?" He replies"Yup! It's a dope beat! Let's do it!"

He did not only keep his word but also did something original by rapping in creole pidgeon English from Freetown and also directing a quick viral video (not out yet) at a friend's house right after he was done recording whilst we ate and talked!... After back and forths via viber and emails, we finally put the track out and the reaction and feedback has been amazing! We also have brother Phyno from naija (one of the biggest names out there now) jump on the track!

Idris name-drops Oprah in his verse so we hope she hears it and comments! We shall meet again soon to make more music am sure, when he comes back to GH for the premier of his movie named:"Beasts of No Nation" a heavy one from what we hear!

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/VVIP-Selfie-remix-Radio-ft-Idris-Elba-Phyno-Prod-by-Magnom.mp3|titles=VVIP "Selfie (Remix) ft. Idris Elba and Phyno" (produced by Magnom)]

>>>Stream VVIP "Selfie (Remix) ft. Idris Elba and Phyno" (produced by Magnom)

Idris Elba has been dipping his toes in music these days, check out the details on his upcoming Nelson Mandela-inspired album featuring James Blake, Mumford & Sons, Spoek Mathambo, DJ Spoko and more.

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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