It’s nice to see Issa Rae mainly develop into a TV mogul, primarily due to her voice and viewpoint, however as a result of she additionally recruits some fairly good expertise to the reveals she produces. She’s the chief producer of Rap Sh!t, a collection about two estranged buddies from Miami who kind a rap group, and it’s obtained all of the signatures that made Rae’s collection Insecoure so watchable.
RAP SH!T: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: A Google Maps depiction of Florida; then we zoom in on the seaside in Miami. We lower to Instagram Reels of individuals partying.
The Gist: Shawna Clark (Aida Osman) works the entrance desk on the Plymouth Resort, however when one of many company acknowledges her as a rapper he’s seen on social media, she has to inform him that she’s nonetheless doing her artwork.
She’s a message rapper; she’s even carried out a few of her movies in masks, as a result of she feels her message is extra necessary than her appears to be like. In addition to, she thinks it’s excessive time girls hip hop artists do greater than stick out their tits and asses. She’s particularly dismayed when her co-worker Maurice (Daniel Augustin) reveals her a video carried out by the producer Shawna used to work with; it occurs to have a white feminine rapper, doing the twerking and different T&A stuff she refused to do.
Out of the blue, she will get a FaceTime from her previous highschool buddy Mia Knight (KaMillion). They haven’t seen one another a lot since highschool ended, and since Mia had her daughter. However Mia is doing make-up for some girls staying on the Plymouth and he or she wants somebody to observe her daughter — Lamont (RJ Cyler), the daddy, didn’t decide her up like he promised.
After ruminating over her missed profession possibilities, Shawna reaches out to Mia to see if they’ll get collectively. Mia, for her half, is hustling three jobs, together with an OnlyFans web page, and nonetheless has to name and pry cash out of Lamont. She decides to take Mia up on the provide, regardless of being upset that they misplaced contact. By the tip of the night time, they’re again to their previous chemistry, and an IG stay of the 2 of them rapping within the again seat of Mia’s automotive goes viral, main Shawna to an thought.
What Exhibits Will It Remind You Of? Possibly this isn’t a stretch since Issa Rae is an govt producer and wrote the primary episode, however Rap Sh!t has loads of the identical components as Insecure, besides that the buddies are a bit youthful and struggling a bit extra financially. However each reveals are nonetheless about girls looking for their place in a world that also sees Black girls in a selected method.
Our Take: A whole lot of the primary episode of Rap Sh!t is stylized; loads of it’s advised in a “telephone’s-eye view” perspective, as if Shawna and Mia report a lot of their lives, that they need to be considered that method. It may be disconcerting at occasions; does Shawna actually maintain the telephone’s video app open whereas she’s coping with clients on the resort, as an illustration? And seeing the whole lot couched in IG Reels and tales results in a little bit of narrative confusion.
However by way of the stylized presentation, we are able to nonetheless see a reasonably simple story of those two previous buddies reconnecting and taking over the music business collectively. We loved the chemistry Osman and KaMillion had with one another within the scenes the place they had been out consuming after which telling one another the unvarnished fact in that automotive. We are able to see the variations of their lives that led them to that time, however we additionally like the truth that they’re going to band collectively and tackle the still-sexist music business.
It’ll be fascinating to see their diverging views on what they’ll have to do to get ears on their music. Shawna will nonetheless possible resist objectifying herself, whereas we all know that Mia has already had to try this with a purpose to present for her daughter. There are different elements at play with the 2 of them, like Cliff (Devon Terrell), Shawna’s boyfriend who’s a regulation pupil in New York, and Chastity (Jonica Sales space), who claims to be a expertise supervisor however simply hangs across the resort foyer attempting to snare well-known company.
In different phrases, Rae and the opposite writers have constructed a world round Shawna and Mia that may assist them at turns and hinder them at others. However the newly restarted friendship between the 2 can be on the core of this collection, and we’re liking what we see to date.
Intercourse and Pores and skin: In addition to Mia’s OnlyFans and the journey she, Shawna and Chastity make to a strip membership, there’s nothing.
Parting Shot: Shawna wakes up the subsequent morning to see that their IG Dwell went viral, and he or she FaceTimes Mia to inform her the excellent news.
Sleeper Star: Sales space has a tricky job as Chastity; she has to make like she’s obtained lots happening even whereas she’s nonetheless struggling to make it herself. Nonetheless, she performs the hustle fairly effectively, convincing us that Chastity can truly get shit carried out.
Most Pilot-y Line: A clueless resort visitor asks Shawna the place the seaside is. Maurice, not on the clock but, tells him, “It’s all over the place. Bro, you ain’t even attempting.” Evidently a lot of the clients Shawna offers with are fairly clueless, virtually cartoonishly so.
Our Name: STREAM IT. Rap Sh!t suffers a bit from some broad gags and the phone-centric gimmickry we cited earlier, however at its coronary heart is a narrative of two buddies taking over the patriarchal world of hip hop, and that story is one we’re keen to observe.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Instances, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Quick Firm and elsewhere.