Whether you know Rotimi from the addictive drama Power or as the “Nigerian Buttascotch” king, notoriously dubbed in his Instagram videos, you’re no stranger to his bright rising star. 

With the 6th and final season of Power premiering August 25, Rotimi’s amazed at the growth of his character Dre, who is now everyone’s favorite villain we love to hate.

“When you sign onto a show like this, they give you a character arch and in season 2 or 3, Courtney A. Kemp [Power‘s creator and showrunner] asked me ‘Can you handle being a villain because we’re about to get rid of Lobos?’” Rotimi said on ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! Podcast. He replied, “’Yea, I think I’m ready for that.’ It was a choice, and I definitely wanted to do that.”

In finding his inspiration for the character, “I grew up around a lot of Dre’s,” said Rotimi. “But I also watched a lot of Robert DeNiro movies. I learned how to be calm and cool, and that everything is in the eyes. The best actors focus on their eyes, which I learned from Omari. The eyes are the window to the soul. And on screen you see that. DeNiro has amazing and intense eye contact.”

The multi-talented artist is on a mission to shift the culture—not only with acting but his first love music. Last May he debuted his Walk With Me EP with his hit single “Love Riddim,” which he performed at this year’s BET Awards red carpet live stream. “I’m in a place where I just want to spread love,” he said. “In a climate where people are talking drugs and killing, I just want to be in a place where I’m a breath of fresh air to music.”

The New Jersey native (who is also alma mater to the same high school as ‘Yes, Girl’ co-host Charli Penn) had this to say of his current Afrobeats bop. “When you hear the record [“Love Riddim”] you can just dance and smile and share it with your friends. A riddim is a rhythm, but it’s your interpretation of what it is. It’s spreading love in your own way. The record just feels so timeless and so good.”

As the growing trend of Afrobeats continues to make waves in pop culture, Rotimi seeks to elevate it even further. “Afrobeats is the root of what music came from,” he said. “My job is to the bridge between R&B/pop and Afrobeats.”

He continued, “The beat itself makes you want to move instantly. Music has taken its interpretations of different genres but it stems from the roots of Africa. That’s why it feels so good and infectious. It’s taking over the world slowly because it’s okay to dance again.”

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