Something for the DJ
Shawna and Mia have finally made it to Spotify as we start episode 7 of Rap Sh!t. The new rap group has just released their second single and Francois Boom, the producer who ditched Shawna when she was starting out, is impressed.
He drops a text to Shawna asking her to catch up on drinks. She is busy enjoying her newfound success and discusses with Maurice whether or not she should go. Maurice encourages her to take out her frustrations on him and should go with this purpose in mind. The party she is performing at is James Harden’s, a big celebrity, which comes up later in the episode.
Mia is giddying up for the performance as well. Lamont continues to make amends for years of absence. He spends more and more time with Melissa and even asks Mia out on a date to get back with her. She is skeptical and says she will respond later.
Next, we see Mia and Shawna try out their dance moves for the performance the next day. The DJ who will play behind them is also present there. The rappers have also prepared a small introduction of themselves which they will say before the performance. Chastity comes in and reminds them the space will soon be occupied and also warns them to perform a good show to make a better impression.
As they’re leaving, Mia mentions Lamont’s proposal to go out to Shawna. She is instantly dismissive of him, saying he is only coming back to her because of the music. Mia gives Shawna a Dior jacket to wear to meet Francois. The two meet and it goes on well but reluctantly from her side.
After a few drinks, Shawna opens up about Francois’ betrayal and says she was deeply hurt by what he did. He is sincerely apologetic but says Shawna must focus on the present. When he asks legitimate questions to her about her business strategy to roll, out the single and project the branding of their group, Shawna is clueless.
She clearly has no idea how to go about it and Chastity is not the right person to take them forward, as Francois also tells her. He offers himself but Shawna says she cannot work with Francois again given what he did to her back then. She storms out, wondering about what he said to her. it is the day of their performance and the group along with Chastity roll in with style at the event.
Mia and Shawna separate from Chastity and go on to do makeup and get ready, while Chastity goes to meet Deja. She arrives at the event with her girls but does not know that they’re not getting paid for their “services”.
In an extremely cringe moment, Chastity forcefully feigns knowing Timbaland (a successful and famous music producer) and asks for photos with her and Shawna & Mia. When she mentions a “Big Gator” as an acquaintance, Timbaland is offended and slights the organizer for calling wannabe outsiders to the event. He is obviously concerned and asks Chastity to take it easy.
The mood is set, the DJ is throwing peppy numbers, and the part is just getting started. Shawna spots RJ Daniels having a drunk by himself and explains to Mia that he is a reputed agent. He represents “Real rappers” with something to say.
They go up and say hello. But Shawna, in an attempt to impress him, calls herself the writer in the group and Mia in charge of the design and aesthetics, which offends Mia a little bit. Shawna says Chastity will not be a good fit for them, acting on Boom’s input. It is time for Shawna and Mia to give their performance. This is the start of their new future – a successful one where they will finally make it. They perform their new single, “Nann Badder” and the crowd loves it. Even the duo are satisfied that it went really well.
Suddenly, Shawna spots Daniels in the crowd, looking unimpressed. She panics and shockingly takes a detour from their set plan. She asks the DJ to stop the music and raps one of her own songs that she wrote before changing paths. The song has highly political and social-based lyrics and the crowd goes silent. Mia is confused and angry but cannot do a thing about it.
Daniels walks away, but we do not get a clear indication of how he felt. The DJ senses he is losing the crowd and walks the duo off the stage. It seems they have lost their opportunity to impress a larger crowd.
Shawna fights with Chastity in the hallway, saying she should have told the duo that there was a time limit to their performance. Deja walks in angrily and confronts Chastity about the girls not getting paid. Shawna is disappointed to know that Chastity is “working the party” and storms from the conversation.
Chastity finally cracks and berates Deja, asking her to get on with the work she is supposed to do. Mia too is upset with Shawna and goes back home, putting their partnership in doubt. At home, Lamont waits for her and says she has put Melissa to sleep.
As he is about to leave, Mia gives in and asks him to stay. After making love, Mia finally confronts him about her doubts. Lamont says he is a changed man and Mia’s musical success is only a part of the reason why he is staying. Shawna is alone at home, with Maurice not answering her calls.
The video of her astray rapping she has put up on her Instagram is not met with acclaim or positivity as she hoped it would. She panics and deletes the video, wondering if she has missed her chance to be a successful rapper.
The Episode Review
Episode 7 of Rap Shit! really puts things into perspective. All the positivity and good work that we thought would lead to something substantial for our leading ladies have gone down the drain. The moment on the stage was a true unraveling of Mia and Shawna’s embedded creative differences and the dangerous game Chastity is playing.
None of them have emerged as redeeming or satisfied from this episode, maybe with the exception of Mia who has got a semblance of a functional family for the first time in her life. Things are still a bit unclear. Despite them being negatively poised, who knows – maybe Daniels was indeed impressed with Shawna’s rapping and may give her/them a chance to work with him. Or someone else might have been impressed enough to go on with their content.
Given all of what happened in the episode, it was a true moment of reckoning for Shawna – she has become what she never wanted to be. She has lost the game, in spite of seeing herself close to success. The Shawna we see now is in stark contrast to the one we saw in episode 1.
Francois Boom was right. She was too raw and adamant when they first tried working together. Mia’s line “the game is the game” has a frightening truth to it. And maybe that is the truth of Shawna’s life if she keeps trying to salvage the old part of herself that she was proud of. Success or gratification: she must choose.
Beyond everything, Issa Rae has created a monster in Chastity. She could really have her own show/movie, given the situations she gets herself in. She seems like a character straight from a Safdie brothers movie hinging on and fueled by moments of anxiety and fear.
The end of season 1 is near and we can expect some sort of closure in the finale. No one can predict anything as of now, given how wildly Rap Shit! changes its colors. But episode 7 is probably the most relevant episode in the scheme of larger things in the season.