People's Party

Estelle Reminisces About ‘Running Up On Kanye’ For His ‘American Boy’ Feature

English singer-rapper-voice actor Estelle is the latest guest on the Uproxx show People’s Party With Talib Kweli, sitting down with hosts Kweli and Jasmin Leigh to talk about “American Boy,” Steven Universe, and Jermaine Dupri’s recent comments about female rappers. Over the course of the interview, she winds up sharing her thoughts about manifesting her dreams, operating as an independent artist, and Jasmin Leigh’s faux-British accent for a role, as well waxing nostalgic about how she got Kanye to feature on “American Boy,” her biggest US hit to date, by “running up on him” at Roscoe’s Chicken And Waffles.

As Estelle details the writing of “American Boy” with John Legend, Kweli jokes that “she discovered him.” “I had heard him, I was here, right place, right time, and I wanted to work with him and I put it out there,” she says. Kweli, familiar with the story already, suggests that she created the opportunity herself: “You ran up on Kanye at a restaurant.” Estelle clarifies it was at the Roscoe’s on Gower, before later reminiscing on the impact the feature had over her life and career. “You really, really manifested this and made it happen,” says Kweli — a sentiment to which Estelle agrees.

“I look at it like it’s a gut instinct,” she explains. “It’s like a spirit telling me, ‘Hey, do this, this is is what you’re here for.’ Does it make sense sometimes? But I follow it and it always pans out better than I can imagine… If you believe everything is working out for your good, nothing you do is gonna go wrong. It may look it for three minutes and then you land and you’re like, ‘How did that come out of that?'” She also says, “I don’t take it for granted that ‘Ye gave me the greatest assist there ever could be. That came via John and that came via, ‘I’m gonna go talk to Kanye in this restaurant.'”

Estelle also says she never gets tired of performing “American Boy” and details her writing process for the Cartoon Network show We Bare Bears. It’s just as insightful an interview as we’ve come to expect from People’s Party With Talib Kweli, which you can subscribe to on Uproxx Video. Check out prior episodes here.