HBO Max has shared the first full-length trailer for Issa Rae’s latest series Rap Sh!t, and if the clip says anything about the upcoming dramedy, it’s that it will have just as much grind as glitz.
The series, which stars Aida Osman and rapper KaMillion, follows two estranged high-school best friends, Shawna and Mia, who try to start a rap duo after reuniting in Miami. Rae wrote the series pilot, and co-wrote the finale alongside showrunner Syreeta Singleton, who also executive produces.
The trailer kicks off in Miami, where Shawna (Osman), dressed in a begrudgingly prim getup for the bus ride to her 9-5, watches a rapper (played by Jaboukie Young-White) burn a handful of cash on an Instagram live. “When you a sensible artist, you know that money coming right back. I make this back today,” the bleach-blonde trapper crows.
Shawna can’t help but scoff slightly as the clip blares through her AirPods, but as the audience is about to find out, she’s not as sarcastic about rap culture as she may seem. In fact, she wants to be a rapper—but she doesn’t necessarily see her vibe reflected in the scene. “I just wanna make music work for me, but all these female rappers have their ass out,” she tells a coworker.
Meanwhile Mia (KaMillion) has no shame in, respectfully speaking, throwing it in a circle, especially when if it means making a better life for her and her daughter. After the former high-school best friends meet up for a drink in the city, it’s Mia who first poses the big idea: “We’re in Miami. We got the opportunity to start a rap group.”
As the duo work to find their niche among every modern rapper out there, sharing Instagram snippets and schmoozing with Spotify even though they have to commandeer a kids ballet studio to practice, Shawna and Mia’s buoyant friendship remains afloat. Sure, theres issues: Mia’s friends don’t like Shawna, because in high-school she acted too “smart” for them, and Shawna isn’t down to make her music “about the male gaze,” which seems to be a veiled dig at Mia’s style. “Just say you want to be Queen Latifah and go,” Mia’s friend chirps back in defense.
As their careers actually begin to take off, jet skis, club crawls, and private planes become a steady part of Shawna and Mia’s Miami diet (this is the 305 after all! Pitbull wouldn’t have it any other way!) But at the end of the day, the duo’s minds are on the music, and protecting their relationship with each other. “It’s me and you,” Shawna reassures a down-trodden Mia in the corner of a pulsating, neon-purple lit nightclub as the trailer concludes. “We’re about to kill it.”
Rap Sh!t will be available for streaming July 21 on HBO Max.