Move over Bodyguard: how crime drama Shiro’s Story became a YouTube hit

Written in freestyle rap, this story of love, betrayal and drug violence is what kids watched while their parents tuned into Bodyguard. We meet the ex-gang member behind the online sensation

As millions of parents settled down in front of the telly for the latest Bodyguard on Sunday night, their kids were getting their phones out for the denouement of another British crime thriller hit. Shiro’s Story, which airs on YouTube, clocked up 7m views for its first two episodes, while that final instalment has already passed the 2m mark. The response has been rapturous, with part two winning video of the year at the recent Rated awards.

Shiro’s Story was created, directed and narrated by Andrew Onwubolu, aka Rapman, a kind of omniscient one-man Greek chorus who tells this tale of double-crossing lovers and drug-dealers in longform freestyle verse, with actors mouthing his raps as he hops between characters and genders. Onwubolu then peppers these scenes with extraordinarily naturalistic dialogue.

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