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On the Come Up: release date, trailer, cast and everything we know about the movie

Jamila C. Gray in On the Come Up
Jamila C. Gray in On the Come Up (Image credit: Erika Doss/ Paramount+)

Twenty years after 8 Mile became an Oscar-winning movie, On the Come Up tells the story of a young female battle rapper split between staying true to the culture and selling out for mainstream commercialized rap. This is another cinematic adaptation of The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas, while the movie also serves as the directorial debut for actress Sanaa Lathan.

From the 2002 8 Mile to 2017’s indie-film Bodied, which Eminem also produced, battle rap has always been an important yet niche product of Hip Hop culture. The competitive sport blending improvisational theater and pure disrespect between two opponents can make for good drama that On the Come Up hopes to capture. 

Here’s everything we know about On the Come Up.  

When is the On the Come Up release date?

On the Come Up is set for release in theaters and on Paramount Plus Friday, September 23, in the US; Canada and Italy also get the movie on Paramount Plus on September 23. This is just one of the titles new to Paramount Plus in September.

The movie premieres for the UK and other international territories later this year. 

What is the On the Come Up plot?

Here is the synopsis according to Paramount Plus:

"On the Come Up is the story of Bri, a gifted 16-year-old rapper, who attempts to take the battle rap scene by storm in order to lift up her family and do right by the legacy of her father — a local hip hop legend whose career was cut short by gang violence. But when her first hit song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, she finds herself torn between the authenticity that got her this far and the false persona that the industry wants to impose upon her."

On the Come Up trailer

Watch the official trailer for On The Come Up below, which premiered August 28, 2022 during the MTV Video Music Awards.

Who is in the On the Come Up cast?

Newcomer Jamila C. Gray makes her major film debut in On the Come Up as lead character Bri Jackson, aka lil Lawless.

Other members of the cast include Only Murders in the Building and Dolemite is My Name star Da’Vine Joy Randolph stars as Bri’s close friend. Also appearing are Method Man (Power Book II: Ghost), Mike Epps (The Upshaws), rappers Lil Yachty and GaTa, as well as Sanaa Lathan, pulling double duty as director and actor.  

On the Come Up reviews — what the critics are saying

As of September 20, On the Come Up has "Fresh" 91% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab).  Deadline contributor Valerie Complex (opens in new tab) said:

"On the Come Up has an old-school quality to it regarding the shooting style and aesthetic. John Singleton, and the Hughes Brothers, clearly influenced Lathan’s direction."

Who is Sanaa Lathan?

Better known as the actress in classic films including Love & Basketball and Brown Sugar, Sanaa Lathan makes her directorial debut with On The Come Up. She is also the daughter of celebrated film and television producer/director Stan Lathan, who also directed one of the definitive Hip Hop centered film Beat Street.  

How to watch On the Come Up

On the Come Up releases in the US in select movie theaters and on Paramount Plus on September 23.

To see the movie on the big screen, check your local movie theater website to see if it is playing near you or a resource like Fandango (opens in new tab).

If you want to stream On the Come Up from home, you'll need to be a Paramount Plus subscriber (either ad-supported or ad-free tier).

There's no information yet on where On the Come Up is going to be available for UK audiences, but since there is a UK version of Paramount Plus, it's a good bet it'll be there when the movie arrives. We'll update this page with more info when it becomes available.

Ural Garrett is an Inglewood,CA-based journalist and content curator. His byline has been featured in outlets including CNN, MTVNews, Complex, TechRadar, LA Weekly and more.