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In Her Own Words: How KaMillion Became the Breakout Star of 'Rap Sh!t'
In her own words, rapper and actor KaMillion talks about HBO Max's Rap Sh!t, balancing her music and acting career, and manifesting the life she wanted.
Rap Sh!t, a new HBO Max comedy from Issa Rae, shines light on the measures people will go through to achieve fame.
The show follows two former high school friends, Shawna (Aida Osman), and Mia (KaMillion), who reconnect after years of not speaking. After a night of partying, the two make a viral hit song, "Seduce and Scheme," and suddenly find themselves inseparable through the mutual desire to take control of their destiny. Both characters see an advantage of a partnership, with Shawna needing Mia's huge social media audience, and Mia needing Shawna talent as a lyricist. Despite their differences in what it takes for women to succeed in the music industry, the two form a rap group, finding common ground of wanting more of their life than the constant hustle to survive.
Based in Miami, Florida, the show creatively gives the viewer the opportunity to observe the lives of the characters through their various social media platforms, such as TikTok, Instagram and OnlyFans. The premise of Rap Sh!t highlights the constant struggle for women in rap — the desire for respect for their lyricism, and the never-ending discussion of appealing to the male gaze. The show is loosely based on superstar duo JT and Yung Miami of City Girls, who serve as co-executive producers of the series.
The breakout presence on the show is KaMillion, who is making her first appearance as an actor. KaMillion is a rapper and because of that she can identify with her character all too well. The Jacksonville, Florida native has seen her fair share of the highs and lows after eight years in the rap game as an independent artist. Her introduction to mainstream television began in 2020 VH1’s hit show, Love & Hip Hop: Miami. But behind the scenes she’s written for artists such as Diddy, Usher, Missy Elliot, and Rihanna. In 2019, she won a Grammy for her work on "Rather Be," a single from H.E.R. 's self-titled album.
In her own words, KaMillion talks about Rap Sh!t, balancing her music and acting career, and manifesting the life she wanted.
As told to Quierra Luck
On how Love & Hip Hop: Miami prepared her for Rap Sh!t.
Well, I was always nervous to go on Love & Hip Hop because of social media. In our world, artists have to be transparent to blow, and I'm now stepping into the light to show people who I am. My manager will tell you I’m the most private public person. I always move like the Feds are watching me, and I don’t do shit illegally. When I went on that platform, I didn't want to make an ass out of myself, because I watch people do that. I thought to myself, "how can I make this work for me to where people still love who I am?"
It was really just a stepping stone for me to get people into my music a little more, but I still didn't feel like I got the chance to tell my story. I'll never discredit Love & Hip Hop. Shout out to [producer] Mona Scott. I'll always be grateful for that.
On answering the casting call for Rap Sh!t.
So, it was so crazy, because I was going through some crazy personal shit, but I ended up in a hotel room and wanted to cry. I read the script, and it was the last day to submit the videotape for auditions. I'm like, “Man, it's bullshit.” I literally waited until the last minute to send in my tape. I started with my audition, “I am Mia. And Mia is me.” And that was my manifestation right there. When I got the role, Syreeta Singleton, who's the showrunner, said, “The first thing that stood out about you, as you said, Mia is me. I didn't want to see anybody else. I knew you were the girl.” And I was like, "wow, I did that." But for somebody else to realize that that was a manifestation.
Photo Credit: Alicia Vera/HBO Max
On working with her rap partner Aida Osman.
I love her so much. She's my twin flame. She's a Cancer like me. It was so crazy, because we're so much alike and different, but we just clicked. It was so fun to show up at work together. She's also a writer on the show. She's a hustler. And we’re real friends. She and I don't like fake bitches, and they liked that about us. You know? We truly reflect the characters and our friendship is genuine.
On Rap Sh!t becoming a staple for this generation.
I want people to [know] that I'm a real actress. I'm not just a reality TV star. I'm a real creator, and I want them to love this show. I want this to be like a new age show, like how everybody loves 'Insecure', 'Martin', and those types of shows. I want this to be a staple for the new generation.
On getting it out of the mud.
We did something called ADR [automated dialogue replacement], where we do voiceovers for parts of the show missing audio. And the first day I went in there and saw myself on screen, I broke down crying. I remember sleeping in my car. I remember wanting to give up, suicide, and all those things. I remember I was there. I remember losing everything. And it's like, Man, if I had stopped, I wouldn't be here today.
I like to inspire because people put limitations on their dreams. “Oh, I gotta have a certain amount of money to do this” or “I gotta be in my early 20s.” Then it results in them being stressed out, depressed, and they come to hate us in the comments. I want them to keep chasing their dreams. I don't come from money. I don't come from anyone in the industry. All this shit is I'm from Duvall County. All of this is out of the mud.
Quierra Luck is a sports writer based in North Carolina. You can follow her @Quierra_Luck