‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’: Michael Rainey Jr. Influenced the Show

Power Book III: Raising Kanan is the second spinoff in the Power Universe. Though Power and Power Book II: Ghost are set in the present day, Raising Kanan serves as a prequel to Power. Set in Queens, New York, in 1991, the series follows 15-year-old Kanan Stark (Mekai Curtis) as he navigates life as a teenager while trying to follow in his queenpin mother Raq’s (Patina Miller) footsteps.

Fans will recognize Kanan Stark’s name from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s portrayal of the adult version of the character. However, Raising Kanan will give fans a hint at Kanan’s origin story before he became ruthless and heartless.

As much as 50 Cent influenced the series, Michael Rainey Jr., who stars as Tariq St. Patrick in Power Book II: Ghost, also had a major hand in the show.

Michael Rainey Jr. wearing glasses and gold chains
Michael Rainey Jr. | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ

What is the ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ release date?

Starz has announced that the first season of Power Book III: Raising Kanan will be released on July 18, 2021. In addition to Curtis and Miller, Omar Epps will star on the show as Detective Malcolm Howard. “I just know that with Raising Kanan you’re going to get to a Power that you haven’t seen before,” Mekai Curtis told Entertainment Weekly. “I’ll start with the ’90s. It was just a different time period; the clothes, the music, just the overall atmosphere, and mindset were a lot grittier and grimier. You don’t really get to see that sort of thing on TV anymore.”

50 Cent has described this time period in Kanan’s life as his innocence phase. “You’ll see his very first fight—things that eventually turned him into the character that you see in Power,” he told Deadline. “It touches time periods where the music, the feel of the series is just exciting. It’s in the ‘90s; late ‘80s to early ‘90s in hip-hop.”

RELATED: ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Season 2: Release Date, Plot Details, and Everything Else We Know

‘Power Book II: Ghost’ star Michael Rainey Jr. influenced ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

Though Power Book III: Raising Kanan and Power Book II: Ghost are completely different shows set in two different time periods. Curtis explained that he leaned on Rainey, who leads Ghost as Tariq St. Patrick, for guidance in his series.

“We got to hang a couple weeks ago,” Curtis told Entertainment Weekly. “Gianni [Paolo], who is on Ghost as well, invited me out to hang with them. So we got a chance to chop it up and talk all things Power, all things life, post and pre-COVID, how that’s affected being on-set. [Michaels’] been a guiding light, because he’s kind of the OG of this [franchise], so I’ve been looking to him for how to move in certain situations.”

Is ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’ based on a true story?

Though Power Book III: Raising Kanan is fictional, it does have some truthful elements. After all, the character Kanan is loosely based on 50 Cent’s real life. The rapper/businessman was born and raised in Queens. His mother, Sabrina was a drug dealer who died in a fire when he was just eight.

50 Cent began selling drugs at age of 12 at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. Some of the things we will see on screen are based on some of his real-life experiences.