‘The show needed to come back’: how Drake rescued the druglords of Top Boy

It was Britains answer to The Wire. But the gang drama was dead until the rapper stepped in and pitched it to Netflix. Its stars and writer talk grime, gentrification and Boris Johnsons Britain I told them I was on my way out to meet some singer called Drake, says writer Drake was a fan of Top Boy, Bennetts Channel 4 drama about the lives of drug dealers and residents on a fictional Hackney estate called Summerhouse. He had been recommended it while on tour and loved it so much, he began posting stills from the show on Instagram with clumsy attempts at London slang (real bod man). When he found out it had been cancelled, he decided to bring …

El Chapo: what the rise and fall of the kingpin reveals about the war on drugs

The long read: As the capture and conviction of Mexicos notorious drug lord has shown, taking down the boss doesnt mean taking down the organisation Just after midday on Tuesday 12 February, word came down that the verdict was ready in what had been widely described as the trial of the century. United States of America v Joaqun Guzmn Loera had lasted approximately three months it took prosecutors that long to present what they described as an avalanche of evidence, which had taken more than a decade to compile. The government called 56 witnesses, the defence called only one: an FBI agent, who finished testifying within an hour. There was little expectation that Guzmn would mount a convincing defence. The …

Blow up: how half a tonne of cocaine transformed the life of an island

The long read: In 2001, a smugglers yacht washed up in the Azores and disgorged its contents. The island of So Miguel was quickly flooded with high-grade cocaine and nearly 20 years on, it is still feeling the effects Around midday on 6 June 2001, locals from Pilar da Bretanha, a parish on the northwestern tip of the Atlantic island So Miguel, saw a white yacht, about 40 feet long, drifting aimlessly near the areas sheer cliffs. None of the villagers had ever seen a boat of this size floating so close to that part of the coast, where the sea was shallow, the tides strong and the rocks razor-sharp. They supposed it was an amateur sailor who had got …