Issa Rae on Why She’s Not Starring in Her New HBO Max Comedy ‘Rap Sh!t’

Issa Rae has a new HBO Max comedy special, and it puts female rappers at the center. The Insecure star and creator took on a full behind-the-scenes approach with this project this time around. She says not starring in the show was intentional. 

Issa Rae on television appearance; Rae says she intentionally is not starring in her HBO Max series 'Rap Sh!t'
Issa Rae | Nathan Congleton/NBC

Why Issa Rae on why she’s not starring in ‘Rap Sh!t’

Rap Sh!t follows two high school friends who pursue their dreams of rap dominance while living in Miami. Rae tapped City Girls members Yung Miami and JT as executive producers on the project. 

Source: YouTube

When speaking with the co-hosts of The View, Rae explained to Sunny Hostin why she opted out of starring in the project. She explained:

I’m not in it because I wrote it while I was doing Insecure, and I was like, ‘Hmmm what can I not be in? Let me just whip something up.’ And then I just love this world, and it’s about 24-year-olds – I’m past that – and it’s about their rise in the music industry – and I love female rappers. It’s a lot of fun, and that was also part of it. I wanted to create a show that feels like female rap music to me. And that represents this time now. [And honor those who came before]…we pay homage to them.

She says men being overly critical of sexually liberated women in hip hop is the inspiration for the show

Rae’s love and advocacy for rap is present in her work. Her Insecure character had an alter ego persona, “mirror bae,” where she rapped and gave herself prep talks in the mirror. She also started her record label last year. Now, she says Rap Sh!t is an extension of that, and what she’s been analyzing in the world of hip hop, specifically when it comes to women.

Source: YouTube

“As a fan watching this time of female rappers and seeing them thrive in a way that I have not seen, so many of them thrive in the same way since maybe the 90s. And even then, they were pitted against each other. So that inspired me,” she told Shadow and Act. “And also like seeing so many male critics criticize this time in female rap and then the subject matter that female rappers choose to rap about and also observing that. There is a very specific type of female rapper that gains prominence at this time, that gains mainstream success, and what that means. And so setting a show on that world and watching people watching two young women come up was like, ‘Ooh, I can’t wait to write.’’

There may be an ‘Insecure’ spinoff 

For those still yearning for Insecure, Rae says a spinoff may be in the works in the near future. “I have not worked on it yet,” she told the ladies of The View. “So while I’m thinking about it – it’s just that I have something in mind. I have not put pen to paper.”

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