TV powerhouse Issa Rae’s second comedy collection, titled Rap Sh!t, Could not have come at a greater time. The upcoming collection follows two considerably estranged finest associates, Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion), as they resolve to start out a rap group. And whereas the present is a comedy, it captures the true challenges confronted by girls wanting to interrupt into the male-dominated hip-hop scene.
Very like Rae’s breakout collection, Precarious, Rap shit! is all concerning the music (Miami hip-hop stars Metropolis Women function co-executive producers), but it surely’s additionally about tackling the challenges of younger black maturity. Between hilarious scenes of Shawna and Mia conceptualizing tracks for a possible mixtape, the present depicts the ebbs and flows of a years-long friendship.
Rae says that Rap shit! developed from his unique screenplay for Precarious. At first, she needed to focus extra on her character, Issa Dee’s secret want to be a famous person rapper, however then she realized the story of an up-and-coming rapper who balanced life, love and life. he business was an idea that would stand by itself.
“I believe it is such a novel time in hip-hop, particularly with regards to feminine rappers, as a result of there’s such an abundance, and it would not really feel like they’re all competing in opposition to one another. with one another. I am a child within the 90s, and there was all the time an inclination to place two girls in opposition to one another,” says Rae, who wrote the present’s pilot episode. BAZAAR.com solely. “It looks like we’re in a time the place now there’s such a supportive atmosphere due to this abundance. All of that, mixed with my very own story developing, turned the subsequent story I needed to inform.”
Guaranteeing this new forged mirrored Miami’s tradition and vibrancy was an enormous precedence for Rae, who describes the method of discovering her two lead roles as lengthy and daunting.
“As a result of the present relies in Miami, we have been in search of authenticity above all else. When KaMillion appeared on display screen, the very first thing she stated throughout her video audition was, ‘I am MIA and MIA. , that is me,” along with her tiny Florida accent. Then, in fact, seeing her carry out, we knew we might discovered [Mia]. She embodied every thing we have been in search of in that character,” Rae says. “She’s really a rapper in actual life, which scared me a little bit at first, as a result of I needed Mia to be her personal particular person. I do not need folks to essentially take a look at it and make every thing really feel acquainted.”
Shawna, performed by Aida Osman, got here to Rae by means of a much less conventional route: by means of the present’s writers’ room. “Casting Shawna was a for much longer course of. There have been so many components she needed to have. Some actors can be nice, however they could not rap otherwise you would not consider them. A few of them can be nice rappers , however they only could not choose up the nuances of Shawna or weren’t actually humorous,” Rae stated. “[But Aida] was a humorous and self-deprecating however assured rapper on the similar time. Due to Aida, we came upon who Shawna is. We really employed Aida as a screenwriter earlier than casting her on the present, however we simply could not get her out of our minds, and after the chemistry take a look at between her and KaMillion, it was a no brainer.”
Balancing time behind the scenes and on display screen hasn’t been troublesome for Osman, who was beforehand an editor for HBO. Betty and a author for Netflix Massive mouth. Actually, it turned out to be an satisfying problem.
“I like [doing both]. TV writing is in the end my favourite factor on the earth, and to have the ability to flip these tales into one thing enjoyable and good is superb. It is comedy, it is storytelling, it is music, it is stunning bitches!” says Osman BAZAAR. “It is attention-grabbing with Shawna – I give her plenty of my private tales. Within the writers room, we entry our personal private tales and provides them to the characters simply by nature to have conversations about our lives and what is going on on. is occurring within the tradition round us. We are able to have actual conversations about black femininity and management as a younger inventive, and that is stunning for me as a younger inventive and a black girl. I can do plenty of self-exploration by means of the present, and therapeutic and investigating my very own life. It is like fixed remedy.
For KaMillion, seeing herself within the character of Mia helped increase her efficiency. In spite of everything, she’s no stranger to the music world, having beforehand labored with Rihanna, Missy Elliott and Diddy, and even received a Grammy for her work on HER’s self-titled album.
“I discovered therapeutic inside myself simply by having the chance to navigate Mia’s life,” she says. “I am simply looking for your house in life and do no matter that you must do to make ends meet, with out being ashamed of it! Each time I attempted to interrupt up [me and Mia], within the subsequent episode, there was all the time one thing that associated to my fucking actual life. We have been making a scene and I used to be like, ‘Rattling, I have been by means of this shit earlier than!’ In order that’s been an enormous assist, as a result of while you really feel one thing that you’ve got been by means of earlier than, you may take these issues that you’ve got discovered and produce that shit to life and make it plausible.”
In a way, Rap shit! serves as a snapshot of ladies in hip-hop proper now, the place sexuality, social media, and road smarts are all intertwined. Social media is essential within the collection; it not solely permeates the private lives of the characters, however presents them a pathway to success. Textual content messages, DMs, Instagram Reside classes, and even Twitch segments are all built-in into the present’s storylines.
“Once I consider Cardi B, I found her by means of associates who despatched me her movies on social media earlier than she was a rapper, earlier than Love & Hip-Hop. After which having the ability to watch her journey and see folks fall in love along with her and root for her, and so root for her falling like that – it is so attention-grabbing to me,” Rae says. “Megan Thee Stallion too. I did not turn out to be a fan of her till I noticed the gasoline station twerking video she did. Once I consider so many feminine rappers we see right this moment, and even the music business as an entire, social media is such an vital a part of that rise. Being well-known throughout this time is so depending on what you put up. The query of how genuine we actually are, understanding that persons are taking a look at us, actually fascinates me. I do not suppose this period of feminine rap exists with out social media.”
In the end, Osman and KaMillion each see the collection as a narrative concerning the exhilaration of pursuing your goals and the sacrifices that include pursuing success. “Discovering methods to earn cash and achieve success and turn out to be a model is what plenty of younger black girls are going through proper now. All girls, actually! Studying easy methods to be a enterprise, particularly in the event you’re a younger inventive, is one thing that comes with the job now,” Osman says. “It isn’t simply concerning the artwork anymore. Additionally it is a matter of business facet. How are you going to promote your self? How are you going to really get folks to hearken to your music? How do you get folks to understand your artwork? And what does that imply? It is a matter of battle, but it surely’s a matter of succeeding by means of that battle and having the ability to redefine happiness when you get it.
Rap shit! solely debuts this summer season, however Rae and her two stars are already anticipating the reception. “It is form of like my second album – I contemplate goofy black Daughter like my mixtape and Precarious my first album. So with this one, there’s stress, however I am actually enthusiastic about it. I hope folks have an open thoughts, it is such a enjoyable present,” Rae stated. “The truth that it falls in the summertime fits these characters and that story. I hope it makes folks snigger, and I hope anybody who’s a creator, entrepreneur, or only a music fan can relate.”
As for Osman and KaMillion, they admit that whereas they’re thrilled to have the general public in on Shawna and Mia’s rambunctious adventures, they actually solely care about one particular person’s opinion. Talking for each of them, KaMillion jokes, “I simply need to make Issa proud.”