fanWe've never been in the business of being grateful for Drake.
However, there comes a time when his culture vulture nature spawns something which demands respect. Sure, he went behind DRAM's back to record 'Hotline Bling' instead of a remix of 'Cha Cha'. But, if he didn't, we wouldn't have been blessed with the 'Hotline Bling' meme. Imagine a world without 'Drakeposting'? That's no world at all.
Either way, the Canadian rapper is the reason that there's a new series of Top Boy, Channel 4's gritty and grimy crime drama which ended six years ago. Since then, the show has developed a cult following in a similar vein to another show which aired on Channel 4 for two seasons, Black Mirror.
It was Drake who pitched the show to Netflix to demand its return. In return, he got a role as executive producer and a third series. Thanks, Drake.
What made the first two seasons of Top Boy different to any other London-based crime dramas was its uncanny ability to shock. The show consistently took the road less-travelled in terms of direction and script, the viewer's scope seeing the grimy underbelly at its filthiest.
Top Boy was set amongst a London at its roughest, and in the years since, the city has only gotten worse.
The fact that the writer and creator of Top Boy is a middle-aged Irishman sounds absurd, as Top Boy's beauty lies in its authenticity. But, Ronan Bennett's insight into what went into writing Top Boy is as authentic as it gets. So authentic, in fact, that lead actor Ashley Walters didn't know that Top Boy was written by a white lad.
The authenticity is also due to the the choice of actors. Walters, although a seasoned actor by the time the first series rolled around, was best known as 'Asher D' from the groundbreaking garage group So Solid Crew. Likewise, Walters' friend-turned-enemy, Sully, is played by grime legend Kano. Kano was an acting novice before Top Boy began filming.
This ability to unearth talent is even evident in the new series. The show's delves into the music world to find roles for the likes of Dave and Little Simz. However, they've also found an absolute gem in Michael Ward to play the role of Jamie.
There are moments of dry humour set amongst the violence and bloodshed. But that's all they are, moments. Likewise, loyalty and family run as an undercurrent to drug-dealing and death, almost as though they're an expected relative.
But again, violence reigns supreme.
People will liken it to The Wire, but Top Boy stands alone as a gripping and relentless appraisal of the world we live in. If you want to be perched on the edge of your seat for the hours on end, Top Boy can provide the ammo.
You can watch the trailer for season 3 below: