Michael Rainey Jr.’s Tariq returns in new ‘Power’ spinoff

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Michael Rainey Jr. returns as Tariq St. Patrick in the “Power” spinoff “Power Book II: Ghost,” premiering Sunday at 9 p.m. on Starz.

Rainey, 19, says he’s feeling “anxious” about his first starring role in a series.

“I have a lot of emotions,” he says. “I’m kind of nervous about the first episode but, more than anything, I’m excited for people to see the new world of ‘Power.’

“It’s still similar to the original [series] but now it’s more youthful,” he says. “We have a different energy and it’s definitely going to be a lot more playful.”

“Power Book II: Ghost” continues where “Power” left off, with Tariq having killed his father, Patrick “Ghost” St. James (Omari Hardwick). His mother, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), took the fall and is currently incarcerated and on trial for murder.

“The first few episodes are constant hustles for Tariq,” Rainey says. “He has to make sure he’s on point with getting good grades in school so he can graduate and inherit his trust fund — and, on top of that, he has to be in the streets and get the money for his mom’s lawyer.

“I don’t feel like Ghost prepped Tariq for this new life, but it was inevitable and was bound to happen,” he says. “He’s his son, so I feel like that’s the hustler mentality in his blood.

“It’s definitely a Ghost trait in Tariq.”

Rainey, who’s been home-schooled since the first grade, admits that he can’t really relate to Tariq’s life in college.

“Honestly, I’ve never been to a regular school and I have no experience in the classroom … but I kind of get what school is about,” he says. “I used to sneak into my friend’s high school. I used to just go there all the time and chill.”

“Power Book II” also introduces two new characters, powerful family matriarch Monet Stewart Monet (Mary J. Blige) and high-powered defense lawyer David MacLean (Method Man).

Michael Rainey Jr.
Michael Rainey Jr.JoJo Whilden

“Honestly, they’re legends,” Rainey says. “I always heard their music being played when I was little. My mom would be cleaning the house and she listened to Mary J. Blige. So to work with her now is dope — like, who would have ever thought?

“And me and Method Man’s son actually played football together in the same league when I was like 9 or 10,” he says. “So it’s kind of like a ‘full circle’ moment.”

Rainey says Tariq has his priorities in order as the series gets underway.

“The main goal for Tariq right now is definitely getting his mom out of jail because … he doesn’t want her being there for something he did,” he says. “All that happened because of him. He definitely feels bad about it.

“I think anybody would regret killing their father, but Tariq felt like he had to protect the future of his family,” he says. “So it’s one of those things where he has to live with those consequences weighing on him while he’s hustling, going to school and all of that.

“It’s going to be a challenge for him to find friends, because he can’t really trust anybody,” he says. “So, right now, I think he just wants to keep his circle small.”

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