'BMF' Season 1 Will Have You Singing 'You Can't Stop the Rain'

The STARZ crime drama is off to an undeniably exciting start.

BMF Season 1
STARZ

Following the success of Power and its extended universe, 50 Cent and STARZ have teamed up once again for the standalone original series BMF. The show serves as the fourth straight crime drama from the rapper-turned-television producer and the premium network’s ongoing collaboration, but BMF’s existence is justified by its cultural significance.

The series is loosely based on the Black Mafia Family, the infamous African American drug trafficking and money laundering organization that emerged from Detroit in the late 1980s and went on to run a major cocaine network well into the 2000s, with main hubs in Los Angeles and Atlanta. The notorious drug empire was led by brothers Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, and due to their work in the music industry, BMF transcended the world of crime and became true popular culture phenomenons, leading to major shoutouts in Rick Ross’ 2010 hit single “B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)” and Gucci Mane’s 2017 autobiography. Big Meech remains in prison to this day while Terry Flenory —who was released as a result of COVID-19 safety measures in 2020—is once again a free man, and STARZ’s BMF aims to tell the story of how those two brothers from southwest Detroit got started.

Big Meech’s actual son, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr., leads the cast as a young version of his father, and for a first-time actor, Lil Meech holds his own. The soon-to-be Euphoria cast member may come off as one-dimensional at times, but Flenory Jr. does ooze confidence in the role. Da’Vinchi portrays Meech’s brother and partner in crime, Terry “T” Flenory, and familiar faces such as Russell Hornsby, Michole Briana White, Ajiona Alexus, Steve Harris, and Wood Harris fill out the rest of the main cast. Yet even with all of those heavy hitters assembled for BMF, the show’s most glaring flaw is the acting.

BMF Season 1
STARZ

To be clear, however, the show isn’t plagued with unbearable acting. It just suffers from a noticeable amount of flat performances from several of its main and supporting characters. In addition to Flenory Jr.’s shortcomings as a novice actor, the characters that Meech interacts with the most tend to be portrayed with a similar lack of depth, especially when it comes to his parents Lucille (White) and Charles Flenory (Hornsby). Perhaps it’s due to a restrictive script that only allows their characters to oppose Meech and support Terry regardless of the circumstances, but White and Flenory are either not convincing enough or frustratingly superficial when portraying their characters. Still, other BMF stars—including the incredible Wood and Pat Harris, Da’Vinchi, and Myles Truitt—were more than able to shine in the roles, but it’s without a doubt that no one on the show stood out as much as Eric Kofi-Abrefa, who plays the iconic Lamar Silas.

Lamar is based on Layton Simon, a Detroit man who was one of the Flenory brothers’ most dangerous rivals in the late ‘80s and the 1990s, and his character is easily the most complex on BMF. He is a ruthless street vet and an untreated mentally ill man who was failed by the system, as 1980s policies resulted in the widespread release of mentally ill patients from hospitals. Thus, Lamar is both a threat to Meech and Tee and a threat to those that he loves the most, including Monique (Kash Doll), her daughter Zoe (Stormy Merriwether), and his right-hand man Slick (Myles Bullock). By bringing intensity, humor, and a frightening spontaneity to Lamar, Kofi-Abrefa does his character justice, and his menacing vocal performance of Loose Ends’ “You Can’t Stop the Rain” in Episode 106 “Strictly Business” is already arguably one of the best crime-drama scenes ever.

Beyond Lamar’s antics, BMF’s historical ties to Detroit’s late 20th-century organized crime wave also adds another layer of intrigue to the show. Countless characters—from Meech and Tee’s beloved mentor Pat and their trusted shooter B-Mickie to other characters like Kato (Ajiona Alexus) and White Boy Rick (Eminem)—can be traced to real people, and it’s entertaining to see how BMF brings each of them to life. The violent, yet hazy, events that rocked the Season 1 finale definitely mark a shift from the real-life events that inspire the show, so it will be interesting to see how BMF moves into uncharted territory moving forward.

STARZ and 50 Cent’s latest crime drama is off to an undeniably exciting start, and if it brings depth to more of its central characters and creates more unforgettable “You Can’t Stop the Rain”-esque moments, then BMF will be unstoppable when it returns for Season 2.

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Joshua Robinson is Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist who may or may not have been playing Loose Ends’ “You Can’t Stop The Rain” while writing this review. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @roshrisky.