When the very last episode of Binge's Insecure aired in 2021, it filled us with joy while simultaneously breaking our hearts. Issa Rae’s fan-favourite original series played a pivotal role in the television and film space, demonstrating that, of course, stories centred on Black narratives could in fact be both culturally relevant and profitable. Insecure’s series finale marked the end of an era, but before fans could even beg Rae for a spinoff of the popular television show (because let’s be real: a reunion special would bang), the multi-hyphenate creator announced that she already had a new project in the works. Just weeks ahead of its television debut, our first look at the latest offering from Rae’s production company Hoorae Media hints at a totally new story — and that’s a very good thing.
In February 2021, HBO Max revealed that Rae’s reign on the streaming platform would continue with a new series called Rap Sh!t, one of many new projects in the pipeline as part of her five-year multi-million dollar overall deal with WarnerMedia. Set in Miami, the plot follows two former friends who are reunited by their shared dream of making it big in the music industry and are forced to put their old beef aside to become a rap duo. Aida Osman stars as Shawna, a down-and-out hip hop hopeful with a passion for lyricism who can’t quite break into the music business and is forced to link up with Mia (real life rap star KaMillion), a influencer who is hustling over time to make ends meet so that she can provide for her family. They’ve got talent and passion, but as we all know, the journey to the top isn’t easy. It’s make or break for these aspiring artists, and their fragile friendship just might be the first thing to crack under the pressure of being women in the rap game.
“Our vision just gotta be fun, sexy, and in your face!” Mia emphasizes in the trailer.
“I just want to make music work for me,” says Shawna in frustration. “But all these female rappers have their ass out.”
Fans of Rae and Insecure had mixed reactions to the Rap Sh!t trailer; some were excited for the fresh new narrative while others were disappointed that the actress won’t be taking a more front-facing role in the series. Rap Sh!t does have a lot to live up to — Insecure is considered one of the best Black shows of all time for a reason — but we also can’t expect it to follow in the same footsteps. Though both Rap Sh!t and Insecure have the similar premise of young Black people hustling through their quarter-life crisis, the new HBO offering is exploring a whole different facet of Blackness in its focus on Miami. Despite Miami being a whole world within itself (if you know, you know), it’s also one — especially the communities mostly made up of Black people — that isn’t often portrayed in mainstream media. Just as Insecure highlighted the uniqueness of Los Angeles culture, Rap Sh!t will be a love letter to the very same culture that gave us Rick Ross, Trina, and the City Girls.
To infuse the show with even more authenticity, Rap Sh!t enlisted JT and Caresha, who many could argue that the show’s plot is based on, to serve as co-executive producers. If you know the City Girls’ origin story, you know we’re pretty much guaranteed a good time. And, if you’re missing the days of constantly Shazam-ing every song you heard on Insecure to add to your personal playlist, you can trust Rae and her record label Raedio to deliver on the music selection episode after episode. You might also be seeing some familiar faces every now and then; the cast includes The Harder They Fall’s RJ Cyler, comedian and actor Jaboukie Young White, Devon Terrell (Cursed), and Dominique Perry — famous for playing Tasha, Lawrence’s (Jay Ellis) Insecure rebound.
We know you’re still watching Insecure on a perpetual loop, but if you’re looking for something new to sink your teeth into, Rap Sh!t might just be the answer. Set to premiere in Australia on Binge on July 21, it’s just in time, too. A hot girl origin story for the hot girls.