REVOLT’s new interview series “You Good?” is hosted by Terrence J. On it, the media personality speaks to his friends about their time social distancing and COVID-19, and much more.
After a brief hiatus, Terrance J is back with another episode of “You Good?” This time, with two special guests: Actor Idris Elba and his new artist, signed to his 7Wallace label, U.K. rapper Che Lingo. The guys discussed several topics, including Idris’ label, the Black Lives Matter movement, how the Black community has come together internationally, the future of film, and much more.
Che’s lyrics about pride for his hometown and police brutality ultimately landed him a spot at Idris’ company. With the release of his breakthrough single “My Block,” the young rapper is already gaining an impressive amount of traction.
Check out the highlights from this week’s episode below and be sure to tune in each week for an all new discussion.
1. Idris and Che Lingo talk about their time meeting
Idris reveals that he discovered Che’s music while listening through various playlists given to him by his business partner and label runner Rachel Prager. “When we met, the rest was history type thing,” Idris explains. “The vibe was almost instant. Just listening to Che talk about his positioning as an artist just made me go, ‘Yeah, you’re perfect.’”
Che, who shared a similar view on their first meeting, admitted that he couldn’t believe that the interaction was taking place. The rapper described the experience as surreal. “Obviously, you meet somebody that you’ve only ever seen on TV at the time, and they’re almost not real to you,” Che says. “And before you know it, someone is messaging you saying, ‘I run the music arm of this person’s label’ or, ‘This person’s entity, this massive global brand and we’re interested in talking to you about your music and do sort of merger. It all became very real very quickly.”
Like Idris, Che says the minute the two men met, the connection was immediate. “When we actually met in real life after a few conversations on the phone, it was a bit surreal still,” the rapper adds. “As soon as Dris said to me, ‘Yo bro,’ I was like, ‘Alright, cool, we’re here.’ ...Let’s get to the music.”
2. Idris talks about his record label 7Wallace
Many fans may have been introduced to Idris as his fictional character Russell “Stringer” Bell on the HBO hit “The Wire,” while others may know him from a slew of other films. However, what some might not know is that Idris has also been in the music scene for quite some time.
“I love music, and I’ve been deejaying for a long time, but being a label boss is something different,” the actor explains. “The label I have, I’m not over here babysitting my artist. My artists need to know where they want to go and have that engine inside them. I’m just here to put them on the road and just amplify what they’re doing.”
7Wallace was founded in 2015 to break boundaries in dance and hip hop music. The label has also expanded to include music publishing in a joint venture with Universal Music Publishing with studios in Central London and Oxford.
3. Che Lingo reveals how he gets inspired during a pandemic
When asked how he draws inspiration with social restrictions put in place, Che reveals that he “draws a lot of power from creating stories about real-life experiences.” The rapper says, “I vicariously see and kind of absorb things through friends, and family, and loved ones, and sometimes strangers via the internet.”
Che also disclosed that he’s been using a lot of his downtime for self-reflection. “I had to have a lot of conversations with myself and delving into different spaces of who I am as a person, not just as an artist, even though those things are pretty much the exact same thing,” he adds.
The “Spaghetti” rapper told Terrence that the internet allowed him to see other people’s perspective on specific topics and he also referred back to a lot of his own experiences. Not to mention, Che already had an inkling of what he wanted to talk about in his music before the Coronavirus pandemic. “I believe ‘My Block’ was written at least four months before any of that started to happen. It was definitely on my mind because of the situation here in London about that exact thing about police brutality and the way that we’re treated. Also, the aftercare that the government is meant to pick up on and doesn’t,” Che says. “It seems to always fail us as a Black community in ways that it’s not failing other communities or we perceive it not to be failing other communities, and there’s nobody to speak to us.”
4. The power of music and the Black people connecting internationally
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who lost his life after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, anti-racist protests reached an all-time high. For the first time in history, all 50 states in America were participating in demonstrations, as well as 13 countries. More than ever, Black communities across the world are coming together to end social injustices. Idris reflected on the unity.
“The symmetry across the world where Black people have a presence, it’s the same sh—t different toilet. In the U.K., we’ve had moments of revolt — no pun — where we’ve stood up and said sh—t about the system going back to the Brixton riots to the Tottenham riots,” the actor claims. “Across the nation, we’ve had these moments. But this particular moment it’s so worldwide because it’s so many Black people just looking at each other saying, ‘Is this the same for you as it is for me?’ and everyone’s going, ‘Yes, that’s exactly it.’ It’s just a powerful moment. And in the U.K., we’re standing right there like George Floyd was British. We feel the same pain. You bleed, I bleed.”
The “Molly’s Game” star expressed that the music proves his argument. “There was an article about songs being played during the marches. I think YG was one of them, Kendrick [Lamar], and Che Lingo’s ‘Block,’ and that song was written way back about a very specific moment in Che’s life but it resonated with the people,” Idris tells Terrence. “So, when [you] say you were listening to ‘Spaghetti’ and ‘My Block,’ and it resonated with you, it’s not about U.K. and U.S., it’s about someone speaking their heart and their soul onto a beat, and that’s really resonating. People are really speaking up now. We can’t be treated like second just because of the color of our skin. F—k that.”
5. Idris gives his take on the future of film
Idris tells Terrence that although we, as the Black community, have made significant strides in being more visible, whether it be in business or film, “I feel like we really just hit the tip of the iceberg.”
“What am I’m seeing in the future for us is more of our stories. Not us just being part of a story, but more of our stories,” Idris says. “There’s so much more that people are going to learn from our culture when we start telling our stories in the way we want to. Not every movie is going to be about the hood. It’s going to be our culture, our richness, our dreams, our future.”
The actor also made a note of the class of rising stars that have been on his radar and believes that the future of film looks “positive.” Idris adds, “It won’t happen overnight,” but he believes “we will see more representation, more ownership and hopefully more opportunities.”