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Issa Rae has revealed the surprising inspiration behind her Rap Sh*t comedy series.
In her new cover story for Rolling Stone, the entertainment multi-hyphenate confirmed she began writing the show in response to Jermaine Dupri’s controversial comments about women MCs. Durpi faced widespread backlash in 2019, when he suggested the new wave of female rappers were indistinguishable and unworthy of a hip-hop crown.
“I don’t think they’re showing us who’s the best rapper,” he told People TV. “For me, it’s like strippers rapping. And as far as rap goes, I’m not getting who’s the best rapper. I’m getting like, ‘OK, you got a story about you dancing in the club, you got a story about you dancing in the club, you got a story about you dancing in the club.’ It’s like, ‘OK, who’s going to be the rapper?’ At some point, somebody’s going to have to break out of that mold and just show us—talk about other things, just rap about other things besides that.”
Like many others, Rae wasn’t thrilled with Dupri’s assessment, which is why she decided to create Rap Sh*t, an upcoming scripted series about two childhood friends trying to get in the rap game. The show is said to be loosely based on the lives of City Girls’ Yung Miami and JT, who will also serve as co-executive producers.
“I was just like, ‘This is so unfair,’” Rae said about Durpi’s comments. “So that inspired the writing of it.”
Rap Sh*t received an eight-episode order from HBO Max, and is expected to begin production this summer. Quality Control bosses Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas will also co-executive produce alongside Insecure’s Syreeta Singelton, who will serve as the showrunner.