Dave and Little Simz are among the new faces joining Top Boy for its latest series, which is expected on Netflix this autumn.
Ashley Walters and Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson are back as Dushane and Sully in the gritty east London crime drama.
Series three will be executive-produced by Drake, who revealed the trailer for the first time ahead of his show at the O2 Arena in London on Monday night.
Drake purchased the rights to Top Boy after it was cancelled by Channel 4.
The show built up an international audience when its first two series were put on Netflix – leading to interest from the Canadian rapper.
Netflix announced it was reviving the show for a third series in 2017, but this is the first glimpse we’ve had of what’s been going on in the Summerhouse estate in Hackney since series two ended in 2013.
The trailer for the cast announcement is narrated by Little Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo, and features a balaclava-clad David Omoregie, aka rapper Dave.
Tolani Shoneye, who along with Janak Jani had the idea for the trailer, was at the Drake show when the video was shown.
“It took 20 minutes before I could start enjoying the concert and not feel like ‘Oh my God, that really just happened,'” she said.
Tolani, a writer who’s one third of The Receipts podcast, said Little Simz’s narration was something she was “fighting for”.
“Being a fan of Top Boy for years and also being a woman, I want it to be like Top Boy is not just a gendered thing. It’s a thing of, you can be a part of that world, be a ‘top boy’ yourself, but not necessarily do what they’re doing.
“If you listen to the words in it it’s like ‘Yeah I know the world – but it’s mad, I’m aiming to be better than this.'”
Series three, which will run for 10 episodes, picks up with Dushane and Sully – the former top boys of the estate – returning from exile and prison respectively.
They find Summerhouse being run by Jamie, played by Michael Ward – the “young, hungry, ruthless gang leader” who’s taken over where Dushane and Sully left off.
Expect drama. As Little Simz says in the trailer: “Everyone wants to be a top boy.”
The show’s creator and writer Ronan Bennett says seeing a 10-year-old selling drugs outside his local supermarket 10 years ago is what led to Top Boy being made.
“It made me question what was going on in my own community.”
Ashley Walters calls the show a “raw, real representation of street culture” – and one that gives an insight into “what’s happening on our streets today”.
“It needs to be talked about and the show doesn’t shy away from giving us the platform to tell our story,” he said.
“We can’t change things if we do not acknowledge it and understand it first. Netflix is the perfect platform for this show, there aren’t many networks who would be brave enough to keep it this real.”
Tolani, who hasn’t had any involvement in the show beyond writing for the trailer, wants to see “elevation of all of the characters” in the new series.
“Eventually things have to change,” she says.