Andrew Onwubolu a.ok.a. Rapman on Showing His London in “Blue Story” – Variety


The film “Blue Story” tells the story of warring gangs in Southeast London by a novel lens — that of Andrew Onwubolu, aka Rapman, who makes the transition from rapper to director along with his characteristic debut.

Onwubolu has been on the U.Ok rap scene since 2013 and has labored with the likes of Margs and J. Hus. In 2018, he uploaded a three-part trilogy to YouTube, “Shiro’s Story,” based mostly on his personal life and rising up in the inside metropolis areas of London. The sequence racked up over 20 million streams and even caught the eye of Jay-Z, who later signed Onwubolu to Roc Nation.

His rise to stardom was a quick one, however lengthy earlier than he made “Shiro’s Story,” he had written “Blue Story,” and this was simply as decided to inform extra impressed by his personal experiences.

Within the Paramount movie, now streaming on Amazon Prime, two boys, Marco (Micheal Ward) and Timmy (Stephen Odubola) see their friendship rapidly put to the take a look at as a zipper code battle rapidly escalates as turf battles and petty rivalries flip bloody.

Onwubolu’s narrative blends dialogue and music, utilizing the artist’s raps as a Greek refrain to drive the story. And he regularly seems to offer commentary on the motion on-screen.

Onwubolu talked to Variety about why he felt assured to launch “Blue Story” after sitting on it for years.

Deptford and Peckham are areas of East London the place road wars occur. These are neighborhoods the general public sometimes doesn’t see.

I wished to indicate the London that I do know. I noticed a London that was nook shops and housing estates or tower blocks (England’s equal to low-income housing mission). I wished the movie to be as near actuality as I may get it. The glamorous facet of London was one I didn’t know and so it wouldn’t be a truthful and genuine portrayal.

Music performs such an integral half in driving the story ahead. For the opening, you set the scene with lyrics about violent crime —  “Shoot-outs and stabbings on, like, each junction.” How did you arrive at that opening?

After we made the film, we did the rap. I assumed it was going to be the very first thing folks hear. I assumed, “Welcome to London” and that describes London how we see it, “Welcome to London a.ok.a the dungeon…” that’s the London I do know. It might set the scene for town that you’d see all through the movie. That rap is my favourite one in the entire movie.

And also you wrote the raps after the movie was shot?

There have been no raps written earlier than the script. Some notes mentioned, “Rapman raps right here.” We had the movie made and there have been two raps that I needed to do beforehand. There was one with Marco and that scene along with his older brother and the opposite one the place a personality is killed. I needed to write these a month earlier than the movie was made.

Afterward, I used to be watching the movie and considering the place so as to add extra raps to the story that may assist to push it ahead.  I aimed this at a youthful viewers,  wished each rap to say, that is what can occur. We had much more in there than what we initially deliberate.

What was the journey of the story and getting it to the massive display?

It was initially a 3-part YouTube quick that I had made in 2014 and a number of the feedback have been saying to make it right into a film. I wished folks to jot down the script and folks mentioned it could value over $30,000. So I wrote the story in Microsoft Phrase and it was a nightmare. Somebody advised I get Closing Draft and it was superb. It took six months to jot down and there was no stress on me as a result of nobody was anticipating it.

Once I had accomplished it, I didn’t let anybody learn it for 2 years. I used to be scared somebody would say it was garbage.

I met the producers in October,  we made it final March and the movie was launched in the UK final November. Everybody mentioned it was the quickest monitor for getting a film made.

Paramount UK had not made any unique films, till this, they’d been distributing movies from the USA. This was the primary movie Paramount UK made and so they had a lot driving on it. When the movie did so nicely, everybody was actually pleased about that.

What would you inform an aspiring artist at this time?

I’d say to consider in your self. The primary yr, folks have been telling me to be what I must be. By the second yr, folks stopped getting behind me, and by the third yr, folks advised me to simply get one other job. However, I at all times believed in my story and that it was good. So long as you don’t stop and consider in your self, then something is feasible.


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