From Facetime sex with a long-distance bae and snapping the credit card numbers of clueless customers, to live streaming on OnlyFans and viral freestyles on social media, iPhones are at the center of Shawna and Mia’s world on Rap Sh!t. The series, starring Aida Osman and KaMillion, highlights breaking into the Hip-Hop industry in the digital era—from the unique viewpoint of two bad bit**es in South Florida.
After a breakout success like Insecure, the show’s creator, Issa Rae, had a huge task at hand: following it up. In October 2019, it was announced that Rae would be producing a comedy about a female rap group for HBO Max. Three years later, the series arrived. With a new city, new cast, and new crew, the road was filled with challenges.
“There was a lot of new,” Rae recalls over Zoom. “And so with a lot of ‘new’ comes a lot of learning and a lot of ‘Oops’, and a lot of, ‘Okay, let’s figure it out,’ but I’m really proud of the entire team behind this. Everybody’s been so great and so patient, and I do feel like we created something really new.”
Despite all odds, the dice landed in Rap Sh!t’s favor. Debuting on July 21, the comedy follows main characters, Mia and Shawna, as they navigate a complicated route from online notoriety to rap stardom.
As the two women rekindle their high school friendship to form a group, they face struggles that abound in their own relationship, their love lives, and in the industry. Loosely based on the success story of Miami rap duo City Girls (who serve as executive producers), Rap Sh!t is not only bold and hilarious, it’s honest and empowering for viewers who can relate.
Between Instagram rants about broke boys and quitting rap, raunchy strip clubs, and molly trips, Rap Sh!t takes on Hip-Hop from multiple angles. As storylines intertwine misogyny, classism, co-parenting, sex work, and social media are also encountered. Beyond Mia and Shawna’s careers, the show also follows the rise of engineers, promoters, and managers to round out its illustration of today’s music business landscape.
Rap Sh!t also successfully illustrates that we are living in “a bad bi**h renaissance,” as Mia declares. While the characters and their stories are fabricated, their experience rings true. Women are entering the rap game through not only their lyrical skill but social media prowess and the ability to craft their own lanes. From its executive producers to Saweetie, Megan Thee Stallion, GloRilla, Coi Leray, and beyond, the new generation of rap girls are breaking the mold to establish a new legacy.
As refreshing as it is bold, Rap Sh!t continues Rae’s mission to highlight new talent and familiar faces on the rise. Series regulars Jonica Booth, Daniel Augustin, and RJ Cyler all breathe life into the story. Whether it be Booth’s firm yet tender demeanor as “Duke of Miami” Chastity, or Cyler’s homegrown Floridian drawl, or Augustin’s Haitian heritage, their characters are shaped by their skills and qualities.
Dominique Perry and Jean Elie join Issa Rae again, after stand-out roles on Insecure. Jaboukie Young-White, PrettyVee, Kid Fury, and more also add to their resumes with the series, providing some of the show’s biggest laughs thus far.
While Rap Sh!t boasts a fire Southern Hip-Hop backdrop—with music from Trina, Saucy Santana, Key Glock, Three 6 Mafia, and others—that isn’t the highlight of its appeal. What is truly worth the binge, is a story that explores the nuances of the music industry from the perspective of an often overlooked voice: Black women.
HBO Max has officially confirmed the dramatic comedy series has been renewed for a second installment. As season one ended with a tour announcement and Shawna’s potential arrest, Rap Sh!t has the potential to carry another season with a deeper look into the plights of Shawna, Mia, and those hindering or helping their mission. Hopefully, the seducing and scheming returns stronger than ever.