Issa Rae isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The Hollywood Reporter shared that HBO Max has picked up an eight-episode order for a new half-hour series from Rae, titled Rap Sh!t. The show will follow two estranged high school friends from Miami who come back together to form a rap group. Insecure's Syreeta Singleton is set to serve as showrunner, while Rae will serve as the head writer. Both Rae and Singleton will executive-produce the series, along with hip-hop duo Yung Miami and JT of City Girls. Rae took to Twitter to share her excitement for the new series.
The announcement of Rap Sh!t follows the series finale of Rae's breakout series Insecure last year. Rae spoke to BAZAAR.com earlier this month about her gratitude for the show's success, but also being ready to move on to other projects.
"I've definitely been ready to say goodbye," Rae said. "I've given so much of myself, and I know that I don't want to be in another television show that I've created, just because it's so daunting, and it takes so much of your time. I am just kind of trying to figure out balancing the business side and being behind the scenes with how much I actually want to be in front of the camera. I'm figuring that out, and I feel like I'm at another terrifying crossroads of what's next."
Fans have been eagerly awaiting updates about Rae's next show. Here's what we know about Rap Sh!t so far.
It premieres July 21 on HBO MAX.
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.
The cast includes a real-life Miami rapper.
The cast of Rap Sh!t is a mix of actors, comedians, and real-life rappers. Love and Hip Hop: Miami star KaMillion will play Mia, a makeup artist, and a single mother to a four-year-old daughter, who works three jobs to make ends meet. KaMillion is best known for her song "Twerk 4 Me." She's also a Grammy Award–winning songwriter who's written for Rihanna and H.E.R.
Comedian Aida Osman will play Shawna, an aspiring rapper who has a day job at a hotel. Osman is best known for hosting the Crooked Media culture and politics podcast Keep It. She has also written on HBO's Betty and Netflix's Big Mouth, and she's credited as a writer on Rap Sh!t as well, per Variety.
The rest of the cast includes the people who Shawna and Mia encounter in Miami, and Shawna's friends and music industry connections. Bad Girls Club alum Jonica "Blue" Booth will play Chastity, a "sex work manager" who calls herself the Duke of Miami, per Deadline. Devon Terrell, who played a college-age Barack Obama in the 2016 Netflix film Barry, will play Cliff, Shawna's long-distance boyfriend who is a law student in New York. Comedian Jaboukie Young-White plays Francois Boom, Shawna’s former schoolmate who produces for a rapper who recently blew up, Reina Reign.
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."
Social media will play a part in the show.
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."
Watch this space for updates.