Issa Rae’s new, highly anticipated show, RAP SH!T, has finally premiered on HBO and episode one set the scene for what’s to come in the season, showing a glimpse of what living in Miami looks like for an aspiring female rapper going against the grain.
Meet Shawna Clark. She’s a rapper who works at the Plymouth Hotel to make the ends meet. She’s previously gone viral after posting one of her raps online, so people notice her from time to time at the hotel. Shawna’s a very talented lyricist but is struggling with not conforming to what the industry wants from female rappers, and staying true to herself.
She has a long distance boyfriend named Cliff who’s in law school at NYU, which makes her a little insecure as he’s living out his dreams, and she isn’t, but she’s also very skeptical about one of his study buddy’s, Fatima, who she believes likes him.
Interestingly enough, Shawna also scams on the side. One disgruntled hotel guest was complaining about an early check-in and Shawna had her phone laid on top of the chair recording the encounter, so as she took the woman’s card to pay for the room, she showed the front and back to her phone for later use.
Meet Shawna’s friend, Mia (played by well-known Jacksonville rapper KaMillion.) She’s a makeup artist who has a decently large following on Instagram, and also has an OnlyFans account. She lives a totally different lifestyle than Shawna, but also has a four-year-old daughter named Melissa. Her baby daddy Lamont, who’s seemingly an up-and-coming producer, stresses her out because he never shows up when he needs to and is always late with the rent money.
Shawna and Mia were best friends in high school but distanced after graduation. However, they reconnect when Mia called her in a hopeless attempt for childcare services, after no one else could watch her. Lamont never showed to pick the baby up from school, her mom wasn’t home and Mia had to do a client’s make up, so Shawna agreed to watch Melissa at the hotel while Mia went to handle her business.
After work, Shawna was commuting back home and rewatched a video her coworker showed her of another female rapper named Reina Reign, who was a white girl that she recognized from a couple of years ago but realized she got a lot of work done and looked totally different. Reina’s video had 1 million views but the real tea was the producer who put her on, Francois Boom, was the same guy who previously tried to help Shawna. But they haven’t revealed what happened between the two as of yet!
Once Shawna got home she took her frustrations out on her man, accusing him of spending too much time with Fatima and when they got off the phone she DM’d Mia asking her if she wanted to go out for drinks. Mia originally ignored the message, but after getting into it with her baby daddy over the rent money, she hit her back and the two met up a bar.
The first bar they went to wasn’t great so they ended up at popular Miami strip club, The Office, and got lit together. After having a ball at the club, Mia opened up to Shawna in the car admitting that she wasn’t going to go out with her because after high school Shawna got brand new and stopped talking to her, adding that she always felt Shawna thought she was better than her because she went to college and Mia didn’t because she had to take care of her baby.
Shawna genuinely felt bad and apologized for making her feel that way but also revealed that she never even got her college degree because she dropped out to work with a producer, thinking they would make it together but it didn’t work out that way. She didn’t name any names, but safe to say she was referring to Francois Boom. Then she ended up back in Florida, working at the hotel, still trying to figure things out and was embarrassed about the entire situation.
After their heart to heart, Mia told Shawna to spit a freestyle like old times and she went in! Mia joked that they should start a rap group and posted the video on TikTok. The next morning the video was viral and the people were in the comment section going crazy with fire emoji’s and great feedback. Shawna saw the reactions and immediately called Mia as the episode came to a close.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m already hooked! The show is seemingly very reflective of the City Girls come up, who also serve as executive producers for the series, so I’m looking forward to seeing how these two characters develop throughout the season.