Issa Rae’s new comedy series Rap Sh!t is set to premiere on HBO Max. The eight-episode-long series follows two estranged high school friends from Miami, Shawna and Mia, who reunite to form a rap group. The season will drop the first two episodes on July 21 and will conclude in September dropping with one episode each week.
The new HBO Max original casts Aida Osman as Shawna and KaMillion as Mia in leading roles along with Jonica Booth, Devon Terrell, and RJ Cyler. Emmy-nominated Rae wanted the show to be authentic as it is based in Miami. She spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about the casting, stating “When KaMillion came onscreen, the first thing she said in her video audition was, ‘I am M.I.A. and M.I.A. is me,’ in her little Florida accent. Then, of course, seeing her perform, we knew we found Mia.” Further adding,
She embodied everything that we’re looking for in this character. She’s actually a rapper in real life, which scared me a little bit at first, because I wanted Mia to be her own person. I don’t want people to necessarily look at her and have it all feel familiar.
While KaMillion’s casting came easy, casting Osman was a long process as she was first hired as a writer on the show. Rae revealed, “But Aida was a funny rapper and self-deprecating but confident at the same time. Through Aida, we found who Shawna is. We actually hired Aida as a writer before we cast her in the show, but we just could not get her out of our mind, and after the chemistry test between her and KaMillion, it was a no-brainer.”
Rae also wrote the premiere episode and co-wrote the finale episode with Syreeta Singleton. “I think this is just such a unique time in hip-hop, especially when it comes to female rappers, because there’s such an abundance, and it doesn’t feel like they’re all in competition with each other. I’m a child of the ’90s, and there used to always be a tendency to put two women against one another,” Rae said about the show.
Rap Sh!t is executive produced by Rae and showrunner Singleton, as well as Montrel McKay for Hoorae. Additionally, Deniese Davis, Jonathan Berry, and Dave Becky for 3 Arts Entertainment will all executive produce.
Hip hop duo Yung Miami and JT of City Girls serve as co-executive producers, along with Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas for Quality Control Films and Sara Rastogi for Hoorae.
Watch the trailer below: