Today, Idris Elba, the multi-talented actor, DJ, producer and rapper, releases his project ‘Idris Elba Presents: The YARDIE Mixtape’ inspired by his directorial debut YARDIE, self-released via 7Wallace. Featured artists on the eleven track mixtape include Chip, Toddla T, Cadenza, Zed Bias and more, selected by Idris himself. Each track in the collection samples dialogue and original score from the movie to create each artists own interpretations of the sound system soundtrack to the movie.
‘Yard’ is the third single to be taken from the mixtape, and sees producer and BBC Radio 1 DJ Toddla T and rapper Chip collaborate. ‘Yard’ follows up ‘King Fox’ (named after the gangster character in YARDIE portrayed by Sheldon Shepherd) and the lead single ‘Stand By Me’, which saw production by Idris Elba, and collaborations with Jamaican dancehall artist Kranium and British singer Tanika, who also stars as Rita in the movie, for the reggae edition of the collection.
Set in 1970’s Kingston, Jamaica and 1980’s Hackney, London, YARDIE is based on the 1992 book by Victor Headley, and heavily features sound system culture in Britain and Jamaica.
In discussing his inspiration for the mixtape, Idris Elba explains “Making a film as director allowed me, for the first time, to influence the music, in this case reggae. I had the best seat in the house, music and film. So this mixtape is the aftershock of YARDIE, a collection of tunes that extends my love affair with the film. It was a true collaboration and everyone on the tape could relate to YARDIE.”
Born in Hackney with a father from Sierra Leone and a mother from Ghana, Idris famously funded his early acting career by DJing as “Big Driis”. He released the albums ‘Mi Mandela’ and ‘Murdah Loves John’, both inspired by his lead roles in the film Mandela: The Long Road To Freedom, and the TV series Luther. He has always been ahead of the curve and had a close ear to clubs and culture, he’s been plugged into the resurgent afro-music wave for a long time, producing a documentary for BBC Radio 2 called ‘Journey Dot Africa’ in 2014 and featuring as an artist on D’Banj’s 2015 single “Confidential”. Most recently ‘Boasty’, his collaboration with Wiley, Stefflon Don and Sean Paul, has been Top 20 for eight weeks in the UK Chart.