‘On The Come Up’ Trailer: A Teen Battle Rapper Takes Her Shot In Sanaa Lathan’s Directorial Debut

For a certain generation of moviegoer, the films of Sanaa Lathan are integral to our experience. Blade, Love & Basketball, The Wood, The Best Man, just to name a few, helped establish her as one of those actresses you could always count on to deliver a fantastic performance in a film you weren’t likely to forget. And now she’s taking her natural talent behind the camera for her directorial debut, On the Come Up, a film that, if it had come out 20 years ago, might’ve been a role perfectly suited for Lathan herself.

Based on the Angie Thomas novel, On the Come Up stars Jamila C. Gray as Bri, a teen battle rapper hoping to make it big in the rap game. Bri not only wants to help her struggling mom, but to keep alive the memory of her father, a legendary MC gunned down before he truly got his due. This trailer reveals a bit more than what we saw previously, and it appears that Bri does get her moment to shine, but then must choose between fame and being her true self.

Joining Gray and Lathan in the film are Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Lil Yachty, Method Man, Mike Epps, GaTa , Miles Gutierrez-Riley, Titus Makin Jr., and Michael Anthony Cooper Jr.

There’s also a bit of a cinematic universe thing going on here, as On the Come Up is set in the same universe as The Hate U Give, which was also penned by Thomas.

On the Come Up will hit Paramount+ on September 23rd.


Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.