EXCLUSIVE: BET, coming off ratings records for its New Edition miniseries, has given the green light to another music-infused period scripted project based on the story of a famous performer. The network has ordered a pilot for Street Dreams, an hourlong series from Rush creator Jonathan Levine. It is executive produced by rapper Nas on whose life the project is based.
Set against the backdrop of a turbulent New York City in the early ’90s, Street Dreams, named after Nas’ breakout 1996 hit song, was originally set at the now-defunct XBox Entertainment Studios as a half-hour comedy two years ago. Described as a show about music, family and the trials and tribulations of the rap game, it tracks the ascent of Nas, a young man from the Queensbridge projects who will go on to become a famous rapper, as he evolves from young man to crack dealer to rapper to adult.
Levine, who wrote the script and will direct the pilot, also grew up in New York, spending his formative years in the 1990s. New York at the time was the backdrop for his coming-of-age feature The Wackness, winner of the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Deals are still being finalized, but Levine is expected to executive produce with Nas — real name Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones — as well as indie film producer Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell (The Place Beyond the Pines) of Electric City Entertainment and Nas’ manager Anthony Saleh.
Levine’s series feature credits include The Night Before and Warm Bodies. He is repped by CAA.