How can a kid grow up good in a world corrupted by violence, inequality, and drugs? That was the key question that cult UK television series Top Boy asked when it aired on Channel Four in 2011, with a portrayal of real life and gang warfare in the tower blocks and council estates of London. It followed the lives of a group of characters, some with the best intentions and some with the worst, as they navigated their way through a system that essentially encouraged them to fail.
After running for two seasons, the show became a lowkey hit in the UK, bolstered with music from Brian Eno and star turns from Kano and So Solid Crew's Asher D. Then... it ended. Or at least that seemed to be the conclusion to the story until last October, which is when Drake came out as a huge fan and revealed he'd been actively trying to fund a third series. Now, according to Skepta, it's actually happening.
Yesterday, Beats 1 ran an in-depth interview with Skeppy, conducted by Zane Lowe, wherein the North London grime don revealed that a third season of Top Boy is in the making. In fact, Skepta said that both himself and Drake are involved in the production, and it will once again be focused on London (as opposed to rumours of a third series being based in Chicago).
Speaking initially about Drake signing to BBK, Skepta said, "He wants to pledge allegiance to us in a way that is a serious way. We want to do bigger things than just our crew." Before continuining to talk about the new series of Top Boy they are working on: "Even with the Top Boy series, with Ashley Walters – [Ashley and Drake] have been working closely, and I’ve been making sure of the creative direction wave. Making greatness with it, man. The whole style of what’s going on in London, the sound, everything about it is real. It’s an actual thing that actually happens, so it deserves to be on the telly." According to Skepta, when he and Drake first discussed it, Drizzy said: “What is it Skep? What do you need? Top Boy series? Okay let’s go.”
He then went on to credit the show as a turning point in the rejuevenated global interest in British urban culture: "It’s not just my music. Not everybody listens to grime now because of Skepta. They like how we speak, they like the slang, how we dress, the music, it’s everything. Stuff like Top Boy, that series was an addition to what I did."
Finally, Skepta shone some insight on Drake's fondness for grime, giving it a bit more clarity and depth than the bandwagon jumping some UK observers have suggested. He explained that he believes Drake relates to grime heavily because, as an artist from Toronto, he too has experienced his art being viewed as less credible because it didn't come from one of the traditional rap cities. Something he thinks happens too often with grime.
You can listen to the whole interview via Beats 1 below: