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Issa Rae On Rap Sh!t’s Emphasis On Social Media, Music In HBO Series – Deadline

“We spent most of Season 1 writers’ room writing every episode and every scene from the POV of a social media device ,” says Rap Sh!t executive producer and showrunner Syretta Singleton of the pivotal role social media plays in the HBO Max series from Issa Rae.

“What’s the story we want to tell and how do we see it through a device now,” Singleton added on a recent panel of the use of social media as a character unto itself on the Aida Osman and KaMillion-led Rap Sh!t. “And that got us thinking, what we show and what we don’t, what would they say on camera vs when the camera is off.”

As you can see in the video above, along with Singleton, the panel also included EP Rae herself plus cast members Osman (who is a writer on Rap Sh!t as well as portraying the character of Shawna), KaMillion (Mia) and Jonica Booth (Chastity).

In the eight-episode Miami-based first season of the renewed Rap Sh!t, Osman and KaMillion play two old friends who suddenly reconnect and join up to make it big in the music industry. Caught up in their mutual and individual ambition, betrayals, expectations and a whole lot of streaming, Osman’s once viral sensation Shawna and KaMillion’s tough Mia are forced to confront stereotypes about who they are and do they have the talent – confrontations that often occur through the gaze and demands of social media.

With music being such an important part of Rae’s Insecure, the NACCP Image Awards winner and past Emmy nominee want to pull back the layers on how friendship, music and gender function in a digitally dominated era.

“When I think about music now and the way we consume everything, that discovery happens through social media,” she told fans gathered for a FYC screening at the London West Hollywood. “There’s not the radio moment you get anymore. There’s not even word of mouth, there’s too much out there. But you find and discover so much music via social media, and sometimes you discover music through these antics,” Rae noted.

“Even thinking about how so many female rappers are successful, so many women rappers are successful, because of taking charge themselves, and marketing themselves, and putting their own narrative out there for people to identify with – and so, that to me made the ingredients of the show,” Rae told the crowd.

Having debuted with two episodes on HBO Max on July 21 last year, Rap Sh!t was officially given a second season on September 12, 2022. Set in Miami and the Sunshine State for Season 1, the show looks to move out to the Golden State for Season 2.

 Rap Sh!t with is executive produced by Rae and Singleton along with Montrel McKay via Rae’s Hoorae Productions, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry for 3 Arts Entertainment and Deniese Davis. Hip hop duo Yung Miami and JT of City Girls also serves co-EPs, along with Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas for Quality Control Films and Sara Rastogi for Hoorae. Sadé Clacken Joseph directed Rap Sh!t‘s pilot. Rae’s audio content company Raedio handled music supervision for the music rich series.

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