‘Something for the Girls’
Mia reveals to her friends that she is going to start a rap group with Shawna at the start of episode 2 of Rap Sh!t. They instantly let their thoughts known to Mia about Shawna.
They went to high school with Mia and Shawna thought of the latter in the same way Mia described; the uppity know-it-all who acts like she’s above everyone. But Mia is sure that the partnership will be a success. Lamont shows off his new AP gold watch on Instagram, angering Mia, who still hasn’t gotten the money from him. She also has to deal with an issue involving Melissa and another girl at her school.
Shawna video calls Jill, who is still hungover from last night’s party. She tells Jill about the new group and the success of their song. Shawna asks Jill to repost the song, but Jill is hesitant as she has nothing more to follow on in her Insta profile.
Although Jill does not reveal this to Shawna, she tells this to a mutual friend on another call. Jill is supportive of Shawna but wants her to behave more responsibly and think about Jill’s career as well. Mia asks her mother to watch Melissa for the night as she is recording with Shawna. Cliff’s friends see the videos and one of them matches Mia’s cleavage to her OnlyFans.
Mia is impressed by her makeshift studio but not by the rejig of their song that Shawna did. Shawna wrote the lyrics from the point of view of student loans, a burning issue. But Mia objects to the subject. She isn’t interested in making the song about debt or something that worries people. She wants it to be more about something fun, like “fast cars or money”.
Shawna partially agrees but asks Mia to jot down ideas for the song that have “double meanings like allegories and metaphors”. Mia is still unconvinced and does not like that Shawna wants the song to be artful too. The creative differences are too much to resolve and Mia leaves the house saying she has “real responsibilities” to take care of and make money.
Shawna calls Cliff and shares her frustration. Cliff reveals that Mia is a porn star and asks Shawna to stay strong. He says that she mustn’t give in to the industry and must make her own way on the back of the works she believes in.
Mia and Lamont (through video call) meet with Melissa’s teacher. She tells them that Melissa might have some unresolved anger issues due to their domestic situation. Her teacher is extremely interested in how Melissa does, making Mia nostalgic and regretful about the lack of attention she got from her teachers. Lamont sends her the money while on call and asks her if she will unblock him on Insta now. Mia goes to make amends with Shawna at the Plymouth. She strikes up a conversation about Francois, the producer whose videos she sees on Shawna’s timeline.
Shawna reveals how Francois started getting offers to work with other artists at the same time he was working with her. All the resources started diverting to them. And then, he asked Shawna to rethink her image. Keeping this in mind, Mia wants to clear up her vision with Shawna, so that they don’t make the same mistake. Mia earnestly tries to convince Shawna that the music has to be about them having a good time.
While Shawna’s thoughtful disdain for society is a part of her, they must not let others control what they do. Shawna agrees to Mia’s idea and they record a pump number. Shawna admits she feels empowered and they have a great night. Shawna and Cliff finally have that video call. Things are starting to look up for Shawna and this can be the start of something big!
The Episode Review
Mia and Shawna’s rap group is the center of attention in episode two. Their differences were something that was going to surface, but Shawna relaxing a bit and losing her rigid edge was nice to see.
More often than not, such characters can come across as moral high-horses riders to the viewers. But thankfully, Shawna isn’t portrayed as such as she records another hit single with Mia. Things are certainly looking up for both our female protagonists. There still lie some tensions underneath it all though, but those issues might need some ironing out in the upcoming episodes.
But for now, Rap Sh!t’s enthusing, and energy is killing it. It is truly the fun-filled summertime show people love. The narrative is becoming more streamlined and it seems like there is a hopeful road ahead for it. We still need more background on Jill and Shawna’s history, but from what we saw in this episode, the two certainly have something going on.
I loved how Issa Rae did not ask us to sympathize with Shawna. She was not shown as this washed-up artist who could not get out of the place she dreaded to leave. Instead, we see her empowered side; the side that wants to realize all the great potential she has and even morphs her ideology to take strides toward that goal. Rap Shit is in great hands and if this momentum continues, it might just be the next big musical hit for HBO.