Late Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke may very well have been on the verge of superstardom when he passed away last year. Not only did he have one of the biggest breakout singles in “Welcome To The Party,” it appears he was ready to prove himself a triple threat in the trailer for Boogie, the upcoming directorial debut of Fresh Off The Boat creator Eddie Huang. A coming-of-age drama about a Chinese high school basketball player, Boogie will showcase Pop Smoke’s acting and hoop skills as he portrays the lead character Alfred “Boogie” Chin’s bully and rival player. The trailer, released today, promises Pop Smoke’s role is much more than just a cameo.
Meanwhile, the film seems to be the debut for its star Taylor Takahashi as well as being Huang’s first feature. Boogie shares themes in common with much of Huang’s work, such as his affinity for hip-hop and Black culture as a child of Taiwanese immigrants, forming one’s own cultural identity, and being enamored with basketball, defying stereotypes of Asian-Americans. The story may be familiar to NBA fans who remember Jeremy Lin’s breakout season with the Knicks and Lin sharing similar stories in its wake.
The film will also feature another rapper with hoop skills: Dave East, who played amateur basketball with a number of future NBA players including Kevin Durant, and played at the collegiate level before dropping out and pursuing rap full-time. The trailer for Boogie also features Pop Smoke’s “Many Men” from his posthumous debut album, which samples 50 Cent‘s song of the same title from his 2003 debut. The music for the film is produced by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and composer Adrian Younge, who has worked extensively in hip-hop.
Boogie is scheduled for release on March 5 through Focus Features. Watch the trailer above.