Fans of Insecure are still getting over the fact that the beloved HBO comedy is no more. Now that it’s moved on to that DVR queue in the great beyond, we’ve been looking for the next big thing to fill the must-watch TV gap in our lives. Turns out we need look no further than rap dramedy Rap Sh!t, the latest creation from Issa Rae that explores making it in the current rap world through the perspective of two women coming up in the game in Miami. After we watched last week’s two-episode premiere on HBO Max, we’ve compiled a list of five reasons why you should be tuning in.
1. It’s Giving Fresh Faces!
Rap Sh!t might be big and splashy thanks to its high-profile producer and big-name streaming service, but it’s full of fresh new talent carrying the show. It’s led by writer/comedian Aida Osman and rapper KaMillion who play Shawna and Mia, a pair of estranged high school friends in Miami that reconnect and then decide to form a rap group after a chance freestyle blows up on social media. Supporting them is a talented cast who are just starting to come to prominence (and some of whom you might recognize from their smaller roles in previous outings) including RJ Cyler, Jaboukie Young-White, Devon Terrell, Jonica Boothe, Daniel Augustin and Insecure alum Dominque Perry.
2. It’s Giving Authenticity!
Aside from casting real-life rapper KaMillion in a lead role, the story borrows loosely from the real-life story of rap group City Girls and Issa even made sure to tap Caresha “Yung Miami” Brownlee and Jatavia “JT” Johnson as co-executive producers of the series. But the show keeping it real doesn’t stop there. Issa hired a writers’ room that included writers from Miami (such as Kid Fury of The Read, who also has an acting role in the series) in addition to tapping some of her favorite rappers (including Dreezy and Ncognita) to write lyrics for show’s stars.
3. It’s Giving Comedy!
While the show takes the hustle and grind of the main characters quite seriously, it’s not afraid to inject a bit of levity into the proceedings. A lot of the things that the main characters do sometimes border on the absurd (this is especially true as we witness Shawna trying to balance her more conscious lyrics with the “fine b***h s**t” that Mia wants to rap about). But you also get a lot of laughs from ridiculous side characters like Jaboukie Young-White’s over-the-top producer character Francois Boom and the well-crafted jokes that the writers cleverly sneak in.
4. It’s Giving Music!
It’s not an Issa Rae show if the music ain’t banging. That’s why she tapped Devonte Hynes (aka Blood Orange) as the show’s composer and hired staffers from her Raedio label to act as music supervisors on the show. So far, the show’s soundtrack for each episode leans heavy on classic Miami rap tracks like Trick Daddy‘s “Take It To Da House” and “Told Y’all” by Trina and Rick Ross. But the show also makes sure to include current artists like LightSkinKeisha, Flomilli, Khia, Jucee Froot and Kelela.
The show is also winning in the original music department. That’s especially true of the song that comes about in the first episode, “Seduce & Scheme.” Using a sample of Khia’s “The K-Wang,” Shawna and Mia create a bad b***h anthem all about getting dudes to give up the dollars for playing with their time. It’s a jam and will soon be one of your favorites as its been tapped as the lead single from the show’s soundtrack. You can watch the show’s stars break down the song’s lyrics for Genius in the video below.
5. It’s Giving Another Issa Rae Win!
Issa’s done it again, y’all. Some may have doubted the creator’s ability to strike gold again after the end of Insecure. But with Rap Sh!t she proves that not only does she have a knack for creating intriguing and unexpected narratives, but she can also steer new talent both in front of the camera and behind the scenes in order to create watchable programming.
We already know that we’ll be glued to our screens to catch every one of the eight episodes that comprise Rap Sh!t‘s first season — and you should be, too. Watch the first episode below, and tune into Rap Sh!t on Thursdays on HBO Max at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.