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Channel 4’s Dropped: the YouTube comedy series which takes aim at the UK rap scene

 (Handout / Channel 4)
(Handout / Channel 4)

Dropped, Channel 4’s comedy about the UK rap scene, starts today on YouTube, bringing a hilarious yet authentic look at the industry.

The show follows a fictional East London rap group, ATM, documenting their struggles to make it in the business. The rap collective has hit hard times following a string of bad record deals and moderate chart success.

It explores how artists are represented in the rap game, and looks at everything from filming music videos, to studio sessions and sampling beats from production. It even mimics the famous black and yellow set up of YouTube’s UK rap showcase channel Link Up TV.

Here is a breakdown of the show and what to expect from Channel 4’s Dropped:

Who are ATM?

The episodes focus on up-and-coming east London rap collective ATM, who made serious waves in 2016 with their track Man Be Flexin’, but have yet to follow up the track’s success.

 (Handout / Channel 4)
(Handout / Channel 4)

Are ATM a real group?

No. The group is a mock-up collective that puts a comedic spin on the many issues that UK rappers face in the real world. Comprising Shella (played by Iain Gordon) and XEN1 (Ren Boateng), the series follows their attemts to make it. Most of the time, though they have to be bailed out by their long-suffering manager Clara (Lola Jagun). Regularly accompanied by trusty fixer Plugz (Priscilla Fagbemi), the group’s exploits are filmed by their cameraman Jackz (Ameziane Aissaoui).

As a former rapper, Ren Boateng brings his experiences of the rap scene to his role. Formerly known under his guise Ren DMC, Boateng appeared on rap battle format Spin The Mic in 2017.

Does it reflect UK rap authentically?

Although a comedy, the experiences of UK rappers come from authentic insight. Veteran DJ and producer Rude Kid acted as an adviser, who also produced the soundtrack for the show, and writer Justin Smith Uzomba, who was formerly a rapper himself, known as Mikil Pain.

The show presents real issues faced by artists in the UK rap industry. Rappers often face pressure to create viral hits, are often locked into social media conflict with rivals, and face their own unique financial burdens, with the term ‘flexing’, which is used in the show, describing how rappers try to out do each other by showing off items that present high wealth - notably jewelry in the form of watches and chains.

Series producer Tobi Kyeremateng said: “Everything about the making of Dropped has been both intentional and authentic – from the amazing creatives and crew having first-hand experience in the music industry and cast members coming from the battle rap scene to the black-owned brands our characters are dressed in.

“It’s a truly unique show to have worked on. I’m excited for everyone to meet ATM and be fully immersed in their world.”

 (Handout / Channel 4)
(Handout / Channel 4)

Are there notable guest appearances?

Notable guest appearances include presenter Zeze Millz, who works with various UK rappers in real life on her series The Zeze Millz Show. Other notable guests include comedians Man Like Haks, Kae Kurd and Tiktok star Victor Kunda.

Who made the series?

Dropped was created by comedy production company Mother’s Best Child, which has previously taken a humorous look at the UK rap scene with Yodel Boiz, a combination of Dril and Yodeling, with Channel 4 and Dominos.

Dropped was written by Guy Davidson, Justin Smith Uzomba and Daniel Clarke. It was directed by Daniel Bailey, associate artistic director of the Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, and produced by Tobi Kyeremateng, a film and TV producer who is also founder of the Black Ticket Project, which saw thousands of theatre tickets given to young black people.

How will the show be broadcast?

The five-part show will be broadcast on a weekly basis, on Channel 4’s YouTube channel. The broadcaster hopes this will help tap in directly to a younger audience demographic.

Channel 4’s digital comedy commissioning editor Charlie Hyland said: “Channel 4’s digital content is defined by its ability to play with form, encapsulate youth culture and showcase a calibre of new and upcoming talent.

“‘Dropped’ embodies all of that and more, blending an utterly original mix of UK rap culture, humour and authenticity, fuelled by invaluable friendships.”

Episodes will be released weekly from February 8 on Channel 4’s YouTube channel