Rap Sh!t – Season 1 Episode 1 “Something for the City” Recap and Review

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“Something for the City”

We’re in Miami and the party is just getting started as we open episode 1 of Rap Sh!t, At the Plymouth Hotel, receptionist Shawna Clark is identified as “that girl from the rapper’s video” by a guest . Shawna explains that she continues to release new music under The Vision.

A look at her Instagram shows Shawna as a serious and straightforward rapper, focused on her lyricism, instead of showing her skin. She even wears a mask to cover her face while recording her videos. She is a struggling artist and has yet to take a break. Jill Griffin is an acquaintance who works with Spotify.

Shawna texts her asking about the status of the clip she sent to Jill to give to Crystal. The next person we meet in the first episode is Maurice, Shawna’s fellow receptionist and good friend. He jokes around with people staying at the hotel and is a jovial character.

Chastity comes next. It is difficult to comment on her personality and way of being because her appearance is brief. But she looks like a hustler, trying to get VIPs staying at the hotel to hang out with her. He is more affably called “the Duke of Miami.”

During her lunch break, Shawna receives a call from Mia Knight, an old high school friend she is not following with. Mia asks if she still works at the Plymouth and asks Shawna to watch her daughter while she does makeup for some hotel guests. Shawna has no choice but to accept being put on the spot like this. A trend in the first episode, at least, is that every new character we meet is introduced to us through their Instagram account.

First we saw Jill, then Chastity, and now Mia Knight. Maurice and Shawna record a reaction video to Reina Reign’s new rap song. They watch the video and barely recognize Reina, who has had plastic surgeries and even followed Michael Jackson’s path to darken her skin tone. Maurice laments Shawna’s lack of putting herself out there, physically.

With her talent, writing and rapping skills, she would easily go viral. Next up is Cliff Lewis, Shawna’s boyfriend who is studying law at NYU. Fatima Assan is Cliff’s classmate and flirts with her in the Instagram video.

When Shawna revisits Reina’s video, she also notices Francis Boom. According to Maurice, he is a producer and helped Reina out. Shawna and François have an unforgettable history, which we will probably know later in the series.

Shawna is upset by her lack of success and the public response to her evocative work. She lives the “rap shit”, while the darlings of the public (like Reina) do “the bare minimum without originality”. She is tired of being trampled on and ignored by people. And at the end, she announces her retirement from rap. Cliff’s video calls out to her as she records and misinterprets her changing clothes as their night for virtual sex. But Shawna shoots him down, saying she doesn’t feel like it and they’re seeing each other soon anyway. The mood deteriorates a bit as they fight over Fatima and Cliff’s photos.

Shawna opens a video on her laptop from the hotel where a guest fights with her and captures her credit card details. It’s a scam that she runs with an “anonymous” partner to illegally withdraw money from cards. Shawna sees Mia’s Instagram videos from the day doing her makeup and asks her for a drink. Mia gets the message but switches tabs to a live chat app where she performs for her adult viewers.

She angrily calls Lamont, her daughter’s father, but he’s busy recording a video and deflecting responsibility. They dispute his involvement and the lack of financial support he gives them. Mia replies to Shawna that she will come. They have a drink, then visit a strip club.

The adventurous and fun night ends with Shawna live-streaming a conversation she has with Mia. The two friends drifted apart after high school. Mia felt like Shawna considered herself above others because she was different and went to college. Shawna however reveals that she was never able to finish college.

The reason was François Boom, who manipulated her at the time and took advantage of it. Mia also confesses that she strips in the office to earn extra money. It’s an honest moment between the two friends that hits you hard. The ending is even more precious as the two bond over the “Seduce and Scheme” rap they did when they were younger.

The next morning, Shawna sees the huge response the live video has received from people. “The game is the game” is an extremely powerful bombshell of truth that Mia delivers in the first episode. It kind of sets the tone for the show – the fight of talent against what people want to see. What it also does is expose people’s hypocrisy. They say they want to try something different and see more powerful rappers but keep ignoring their works at the same time. The very preference to see mainstream works that are sexually commercialized over ‘woke’ works, while demanding something ‘woke’ stands out.


The episode review

The season premiere of Rap Shit begins with electric energy. Issa Rae’s fun tone is inspired by the internet age. Everything we see is through the lens of platforms like Instagram stories and videos, FaceTime, and adult live streams. The language of communication has changed dramatically.

First impressions are now assessed through online profiles and the type of content one posts and likes. Rap Sh!t is aware of this and introduces us to each character using this medium. KaMillion and Aida Osman got along well in the first episode. Their partnership that closed out the first episode may be the start of something amazing for their characters and viewers. Even before I started watching it, I had a feeling it could be something like Atlanta for female rappers. But to my surprise, he isn’t as serious and chooses a completely different storytelling path.

There’s a slight undercurrent of more solemn themes, but it’s not strong enough to overshadow the wacky and wonderful spirit of life. Miami will prove to be a happening destination and we can already see how that changes the mood. Episode 1 cuts to the chase and is something of a renaissance moment in modern television. It’s something new and immediately exciting, full of promise for the rest of the season. A good start !

The next episode

Expect a full season write-up at the end of this season!
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