Following the bittersweet end and five-season run of Issa Rae’s hit HBO series, Insecure, the entertainment mogul is gearing up for the arrival of her new comedy series, Rap Sh!t. The series follows two estranged best friends, Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion) who decide to start a rap group.
“It’s comedy, it’s storytelling, it’s music, it’s fine b*tches!,” Osman joked in her recent conversation with Harper’s BAZAAR, alongside Rae and KaMillion. “It’s interesting with Shawna—I’m giving her a lot of my personal storylines. In the writers’ room, we access our own personal stories and give them to the characters just by nature of having conversations about our life and about what’s going on in culture around us. We can have real conversations about Black femininity and control as a young creative, and that’s beautiful to me as a young creative and a Black woman. I get to do a lot of self-exploration through the show, and heal and investigate my own life. It’s like constant therapy.”
The series—which stemmed from Rae’s original Insecure script—is set to also follow the ebbs and lows of friendship as well as the challenges of women breaking into the boys’ club known as the Hip-Hop industry.
“I think this is just such a unique time in hip-hop, especially when it comes to female rappers, because there’s such an abundance, and it doesn’t feel like they’re all in competition with each other. I’m a child of the ’90s, and there used to always be a tendency to put two women against one another,” explained Rae, who penned the pilot for Rap Sh!t. “It feels like we’re in an era where there’s such a supportive environment now because of that abundance. All of that, combined with just my own story of coming up, became the next story that I wanted to tell.”
When aiming to capture Miami’s one-of-a-kind culture and vibrancy, Rae spoke on the process of finding the show’s leading ladies. Osman is one of the show’s writers while KaMillion is a real-life rapper. Though there was hesitation at first, their chemistry test proved that selecting these two was a “no-brainer.”
Rae intends to keep the series authentic to the paths of the modern era of female rap. “When I think about Cardi B, I discovered her because of friends sending me her social media videos before she was a rapper, before ‘Love & Hip Hop.’ And then, being able to watch her journey and watch people fall in love with her and root for her, and then root for her downfall like that—that is so interesting to me,” Rae explained. “Megan Thee Stallion too […] To be famous during this time relies so much on what you’re putting out. The question of how authentic we really are, knowing that people are watching, really fascinates me. I don’t think that this era of female rap exists without social media.”
With Rap Sh!t, “this is kind of like my sophomore album—I consider Awkward Black Girl as my mixtape and Insecure my first album. So with this one, there is pressure, but I’m really excited about it. I hope that people have an open mind—it’s such a fun show,” Rae later expressed.
Rap Sh!t is slated to debut later this summer, but will premiere exclusively at the American Black Film Festival 2022 on June 18.