Top Boy is a critically acclaimed British television series that has captivated audiences with its gritty portrayal of life in East London’s housing estates. Created by Ronan Bennett, the show originally premiered in 2011 and was later revived by Netflix in 2019, gaining a global following.
This crime drama delves deep into the complex world of drug dealing, crime, and survival in the tough neighbourhoods of London. One of the most potent parts of the series is the music.
The series revolves around the lives of several characters, primarily focusing on Dushane (played by Ashley Walters) and Sully (played by Kane Robinson, AKA grime icon Kano), two childhood friends turned drug dealers.
Their pursuit of wealth and power leads them down a treacherous path as they navigate rival gangs, law enforcement, and personal dilemmas. The show explores themes of loyalty, ambition, betrayal, and the moral grey areas that exist in their world.
The synopsis for the fifth series reads: “Sully’s actions at the end of the last series have rewritten his business rules with Dushane. As new shared problems arise, everything they’ve built comes under threat from forces outside and within their empire. Can they coexist by the rules of the road they’ve lived by their whole lives in a world that is changing before them? Or can there only be one Top Boy?”
One of the standout features of Top Boy is its unflinching and authentic portrayal of the socio-economic struggles faced by its characters. It doesn’t glamourise the criminal lifestyle but instead offers a nuanced view of the choices people make when they have limited options. The characters are well-developed, and viewers become deeply invested in their stories, even as they grapple with the consequences of their actions.
The revival on Netflix breathed new life into the series, introducing it to a wider international audience while retaining its signature rawness. The cast delivers exceptional performances, drawing viewers into the complex emotions and dilemmas faced by their characters. With a fifth series now finding its way into the global charts and becoming one of the most talked about shows on Netflix, we’re looking at one of its most important factors: the soundtrack.
As well as the new series starring Ashley Walters of So Solid crew fame, Kano and British award-winning rapper Little Simz, the show is famed for bringing grime to a US audience. The new series soundtrack is once again full of wonderful tunes. There are nods to J Hus’ song ‘Spirit’, another grime hero, Giggs and his track ‘Innocent’, and Avelino’s song ‘Same Old Story’.
Find the full Top Boy series five soundtrack below.