‘Rap Sh!t’ Showrunner Breaks Down Shawna and Mia’s Season 2 Finale Alliance, Shares Season 3 Hopes

Syreeta Singleton also unpacks how Lord AK’s mental health crisis reflects the current state of hip-hop

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KaMillion and Aida Osman in the "Rap Sh!t" Season 2 finale (Max)

Note: This story contains spoilers for the “Rap Sh!t” Season 2 finale.

The Season 2 finale of Max’s “Rap Sh!t” sees up-and-coming rap group Shawna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion) cementing their management with Francois Boom (Jaboukie Young-White) as they attempt to “fast track” their success in the hip-hop world, according to showrunner Syreeta Singleton, leaving their longtime alliance with Chastity (Jonica Booth) in the dust.

“He’s shinier and he comes with shinier people,” Singleton told TheWrap of Francois Boom, pointing to rapper and songwriter Pardison Fontaine, who is introduced to Shawna and Mia by Francois at the beginning of the final episode. “What it takes to make it a lot of times it’s like alright, ‘Where am I going to get the most eyes?’”

After working with Pardi on what the duo thinks could be their next hit, Singleton notes that they are drawn to the access provided by Francios’ connections, especially Pardi, who’s worked with Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

“By working with Francois Boom, by getting to work with Pardi who’s written for all these other women who are in places that they want to be, they think that, ‘OK, so that means that I’ll be there as well.’”

Francois’ ultimatum prompts Shawna and Mia to turn their back on Chastity, who reminds them of the times Francois has left the girls hanging while she has always advocated for them.

“I think a lot of times [Shawna and Mia] struggle to see [Chastity’s] value, especially because she is like them and she comes from where they come from, and they’re eager to get to that other side and [they’re] wanting to skip some steps,” Singleton said. “We’ve seen them really struggle and build things from the ground up and I think they’re just tired of doing it from the ground up — even though a lot of times that’s what most sustainable.”

Instead, Singleton notes that Shawna and Mia are “looking to fast track themselves” as they search for the next thing that will make them go viral again.

Below, Singleton teases why Chastity was meeting with Gat (Patrick Cage) and what other storylines we might see in a potential Season 3, and discusses Lord AK’s mental health crisis.

TheWrap: At the end of the episode, we see Chastity meeting with Gat. Can you tease what that meeting might have been about?

They now have a common enemy. Gat and Shawna have kind of gone back-and-forth online and Shawna has promised to expose what she knows and what she’s seen behind-the-scenes and now Chastity feels like she’s been like taken for granted and looked over. Shawna and Chastity have always had a rough relationship — Shawna has never really shown her much respect. Chastity has taken a page out of Shawna and Mia’s books where [she’s thinking] “you guys are gonna go with who you feel is gonna get you on the fastest, alright, let me make my own alliances.”

In Episode 5 we saw Lord AK (Jacob Romero) attempt suicide by lighting himself on fire, which a lot of viewers didn’t see coming. How did that idea come together?

When we were speaking during Season 1, we talked about the state of rap and all of the drug overdoses that we were seeing with a lot of artists and a lot of the deaths that we see happen in the industry and how a lot of the music had become so sad, that was something that we were talking about a lot and wanting to touch on that in this world. When Season 2 came around, and we had this headliner, it was a lot of conversation around the pressures of the industry, the lack of support that people feel when it comes to your mental health, but also as a young Black person who’s at the height of their career and has all these expectations and pressures on them … and just this constant “go, go, go” society that never allows you the chance to really check in with yourself and get the help that you need.

Unfortunately in hip-hop, it seems like we’re always losing someone and [their groups] keep going — you look at Migos and what happened to Takeoff and then still putting out music. We also were thinking about Houston, who was an artist back in the day with Capitol Records, who gouged his eye out at a party and all of these kinds of conversations came together and we put inside of this character, Lord AK, and as commentary on some of this stuff that we see.

Even in the aftermath of that labels make more money off of these artists, after they’ve either hurt themselves or died, and other people use it and they do press tours and it just becomes another viral thing and the world just keeps going. It’s dark, but very real, and it’s really real for like the current state of hip-hop.

After seeing Gat smugly talking about Lord AK and advocating for mental health, Shawna claps back at him, and draws the support of some pretty big female rappers like Flo Milli and Rico Nasty. How did those cameos come together?

We were like, we want to legitimize Shawna going forward and make Shawna excited — she almost ends up kind of using this story and what happened to Lord AK to her own benefit. We wanted to find real women rappers who are recognizable, who are loved to help push Shawna in that direction.

[Raedio president] Benoni [Tagoe] reached out to see who would be interested and we’re such fans of Flo Milli and Rico Nasty and were excited when they said yes. We had Flo Milli actually come in and then I remember talking to [Rico Nasty] through how to use the equipment that they sent her and talking them through the story. They were excited to do it and we’re really happy to have them.

Amid all the chaos, Shawna abandoned her plans to see Maurice off as he heads to prison. Why did she neglect those plans and do you think she’ll feel bad about not saying goodbye?

I think she feels bad about not saying goodbye because of the relationship that they have, but also because of now what that’s done to what Maurice is then going to do in turn.

She got so caught up and I think Shawna is very attention-seeking and she’s desperate. That’s what it is. She’s desperate to make it and and sometimes I think she loses sight of her “why” — it’s just caught up in that drive. It took her away from being there for Maurice because, “Oh, look, now I have the song happening, I have all this stuff happening online.” I think we saw what her priorities were.

I know Season 3 is not official yet, but can you tease any storylines or ideas you would be excited to explore for a potential next season?

All of the stuff that we’ve talked about is in very early stages. We definitely want to continue to pick up on Shawna, Mia and Chastity and continue with all the characters that we kind of set up here in Season 2 and and see what that next level is for Shawna and Mia.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

“Rap Sh!t” Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Max.

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