Issa Rae’s new comedy series Rap Sh!t is set to premiere on HBO Max. The eight-episode-long series follows two estranged high school friends from Miami, Shawna and Mia, who reunite to form a rap group.
Rap Sh!t Release Date Announced!
The season will drop the first two episodes on July 21 and will conclude in September dropping with one episode each week.
Rap Sh!t Cast: Who Will Be In It?
The new HBO Max original casts Aida Osman as Shawna and KaMillion as Mia in leading roles along with Jonica Booth, Devon Terrell, and RJ Cyler. Emmy-nominated Rae wanted the show to be authentic as it is based in Miami. She spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about the casting, stating “When KaMillion came onscreen, the first thing she said in her video audition was, ‘I am M.I.A. and M.I.A. is me,’ in her little Florida accent. Then, of course, seeing her perform, we knew we found Mia.” Further adding,
She embodied everything that we’re looking for in this character. She’s actually a rapper in real life, which scared me a little bit at first, because I wanted Mia to be her own person. I don’t want people to necessarily look at her and have it all feel familiar.
While KaMillion’s casting came easy, casting Osman was a long process as she was first hired as a writer on the show. Rae revealed, “But Aida was a funny rapper and self-deprecating but confident at the same time. Through Aida, we found who Shawna is. We actually hired Aida as a writer before we cast her in the show, but we just could not get her out of our mind, and after the chemistry test between her and KaMillion, it was a no-brainer.”
Rae also wrote the premiere episode and co-wrote the finale episode with Syreeta Singleton. “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,” Rae said about the show.
Rap Sh!t Plot: The series is all about navigating Black womanhood.
In an exclusive interview with BAZAAR.com, the stars of Rap Sh!t Aida Osman and KaMillion shared what viewers can expect from the series this summer.
“Finding ways to make money and be successful, and turning yourself into a brand, that is what many young Black women are dealing with right now. All women, really! Learning how to be a business, especially if you’re a young creative, is something that comes with the job now,” Osman said of the show. “It’s not just about the art anymore. It’s about the commercial aspect of it too. How can you sell yourself? How can you actually get people to listen to your music? How do you get people to enjoy your art? And what does that mean to you? It’s about struggle, but it’s about success through that struggle, and being able to redefine happiness once you get it.”
Issa Rae told BAZAAR.com that she was inspired by the come-up of real-life rappers such as Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B and how social media played a major part of their success. Rap Sh!t will include aspects of social media — like Instagram and live streaming — to help tell the story of Shawna and Mia’s rise to fame.
“When I think about so many of the female rappers that we see today, and even just the music industry as a whole, social media is such a huge part of that come-up. To be famous during this time relies so much on what you’re putting out,” said Rae. “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.”
Rap Sh!t Trailer
In a teaser trailer for the new series, viewers get a first look at the raucous adventures of Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion) as they reconnect and spontaneously decide to start a rap group. Watch the new clip, above.
Rap Sh!t is executive produced by Rae and showrunner Singleton, as well as Montrel McKay for Hoorae. Additionally, Deniese Davis, Jonathan Berry, and Dave Becky for 3 Arts Entertainment will all executive produce.
Hip hop duo Yung Miami and JT of City Girls serve as co-executive producers, along with Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas for Quality Control Films and Sara Rastogi for Hoorae.