The time to mourn Insecure is over; now it's time to celebrate creator Issa Rae's new HBO Max show, Rap Sh!t. The comedy, which she has previously described as being inspired by the rise of female emcees like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, has a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. Critics are hailing it as "hilarious" and "energizing."
Rae's first TV baby, Insecure, which ended its five-season run on HBO in late December after earning multiple Emmy nominations (though outrageously none for the final season). For her follow-up, she moves the setting from south Los Angeles to Miami. And while Rae wrote the premiere episode and co-wrote the finale with showrunner Syreeta Singleton, she doesn't star in Rap Sh!t herself.
Instead, stars Aida Osman and KaMillion as an up-and-coming rap duo trying to make it in the music biz. The story parallels that of Miami's City Girls, JT and Yung Miami, who serve as co-executive producers.
Here's the lowdown about Rap Sh!t, one of our top picks for what to watch this weekend.
What is Rap Sh!t about?
Rap Sh!t follows two estranged high school friends who reunite in their 20s to form a rap duo. Shawna (Aida Osman) has already been burned by the industry, after dropping out of college to work with a shady producer. She found a middling, fleeting level success but now works at a hotel by day, releasing little-heard tracks online by night. She's mostly given up her dream of becoming famous, socially-conscious rapper.
Meanwhile, Mia (KaMillion) is a single mom trying to support her daughter with a variety of side hustles, including makeup artistry and an OnlyFans account. She also has a big Instagram following.
When they return to each other's orbit, they instantly click. After a drunken night of partying and freestyling, they decide to form a group. Using social media platforms, their songs soon grab the eyes and ears of fans.
This is no Cinderella story, though. The music business is tough, particularly for Black female rappers. The two face a real grind trying to get their first single "Seduce and Scheme" played anywhere.
Plus, Shawna and Mia have real differences in their approaches to the collaboration. It should make for a wildly entertaining ride this season (and hopefully future ones).
Rap Sh!t reviews: What critics think
Currently, Rap Sh!t has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating off of 13 reviews. While it hasn't been Certified Fresh yet, it will likely get that designation once more reviews flow in. Currently, the critic consensus reads: "Issa Rae's razor-sharp sensibility is fully felt in Rap Sh!t, a raucous chronicle of female camaraderie and youthful ambition."
The AV Club's Quinci LeGardye calls the show "a hilarious and experimental comedy, one that’s propelled by stellar rising talent and authentic, complex stories of Black life."
Lovia Gyarkye at the Hollywood Reporter calls it "glossy, entertaining show that prioritizes quick wit and fun; it’s less moody than Donald Glover’s Atlanta and not as satirical as Dave, two other series that chronicle rappers trying to break through."
NPR's Aisha Harris says, "There's likely enough here for hip-hop fans and Insecure fans to chew on and be satisfied, while anticipating where Shawna and Mia will go next."
Lorraine Ali at the Los Angeles Times writes, "The chemistry among the crew is immediately palpable thanks to standout performances by Osman, KaMillion and Jonica Booth, who portrays hustler Chastity."
Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall writes that the show's integration of social media "doesn’t always work, but it’s an interesting Insecure follow-up for creator Issa Rae and showrunner Syreeta Singleton."
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