Little Simz: ‘Every story told in Top Boy, I’ve witnessed a version’

The rapper on being cast in the new series of the London drama, and meeting its biggest fan, Drake

• Read an interview with Top Boy writer Ronan Bennett

Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo – better known as rapper Little Simz – was born in north London in 1994. She started acting aged nine, appearing in the BBC series Spirit Warriors and E4’s Youngers, before turning to music. Her third album, Grey Area, released in March, was described by Pitchfork as “a wickedly assured, highly entertaining, coming-of-age marvel”. In Top Boy, she plays Shelley, “a driven, independent single mum… who wants to break out and do better in life”.

How did you end up in the show?
The link came from Kano [the rapper who plays Sully in all three series of Top Boy]. They were gearing up for this season and I guess Kano put in a good word for me. I had three auditions. The first time I walked out thinking, Ah, I don’t think it’s mine, but then I got a recall.

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