How Drake revived Top Boy

How Drake revived Top Boy

by Ollie Cox
3 min

The wait is almost over – the new season of Top Boy is nearly here. After a tumultuous on-air journey, first gracing our screens in 2011, a proper end to the series is finally happening more than 10 years later. 

Top Boy/ Netflix ©

After abruptly ending in 2013, the show’s saviour turned out to be a familiar and somewhat unexpected face; Drake. It is important to note that the rapper did not make Top-Boy, and it was created by Ronan Bennet, who was inspired to write the show after seeing a young boy selling drugs outside his local supermarket in Hackney. 

Top Boy/ Netflix ©

Drake’s involvement with the show comes later, initially engaging with the series as a fan and being saddened to find out it had been axed by its then-producer, Channel 4. The Toronto-born rapper took his love of the show beyond armchair support, using his unique position as one of the most successful artists in the world to get in touch with Netflix to revive the show. 

Top Boy/ Netflix ©

Initially, Bennet wasn’t aware of the weight Drake carried but very quickly realised the power the hip-hop star could bring to the show. According to the Guardian, “Drake fronted a pitch to Netflix in LA and an hour later they had a deal. But Top Boy wasn’t an easy sell”. During the initial pitching stage, the BBC wasn’t keen on the show’s controversial themes and language. Now the rapper is an executive producer on the show. 

The programme is not without its critics, as the new series arrives at a time when gang-related violence is at a high in the capital, with an ongoing cost-of-living crisis only fanning the flames. The show depicts a very real reality in today’s society. 

Top Boy/ Netflix ©

Despite Drake not being from East London himself, his input hasn’t affected the hard-hitting impact of the show. The series even touches on the gentrification of Hackney, introducing middle-class white drug dealers in its latest season. 

With or without Drake, Top Boy getting a proper ending is what the people needed, holding up a sometimes-uncomfortable yet startlingly realistic lens to the injustice and poverty faced by residents in these areas that forms an all-too-familiar story across Britain.

Top Boy/ Netflix ©

The new series of top boy is slated to release on September 7. Will you be watching? 

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