Musician, producer and actor Pras Michel is taking us back to NYC at the turn of the millennium for a scripted television series inspired by the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Rap Intelligence Unit.
Created in conjunction with Jean Claude LaMarre, the currently-untitled project centers on a cop “who goes undercover at a successful New York rap label and is exposed to the lavish and intoxicating lifestyle of a hip-hop underworld.” The founding member of the Fugees will executive produce with LaMarre, alongside Steven Victor, EVP of Def Jam Recordings; and David Blackman, head of Polygram Entertainment. Mick Betancourt (The Purge, Chicago Fire) has signed on to write the project.
“The idea for this project was born out of my own experiences as an artist and hearing about the experiences that others had with the RUI. We’re excited to develop a show that will not only entertain but inform fans about the world of hip-hop, given its prominence in popular culture.” – Pras Michel
In exclusive reporting from Variety, the series is inspired by the real-life Rap Intelligence Unit, the controversial NYPD unit formed in 1999 after the murders of rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. The purpose of the unit was to investigate individuals and crimes connected to the city’s rap scene; with officers who served in the covert unity referred to as “hip-hop cops.” Former NYPD police detective Derrick Parker published a book about his experiences in 2006: Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD’s First “Hip-Hop Cop.”
“As the landscape of media and entertainment continues to evolve, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to tell stories, entertain and help our artists build strong connections with their fans. With hip-hop’s growing influence on popular culture, the time is right for this show and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Pras to bring this project to life.” – Steven Victor, EVP of Def Jam Recordings