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Issa Rae on How She Wrote ‘That’ Rap

If there’s one thing Issa Rae is great at, it’s being a semi-bad MC. It’s not that she can’t write rhymes, or deliver them, it’s that when her character on Insecure raps, she’s supposed to live up to the show’s name.

The songs that she writes for the show—usually delivered to the bathroom mirror—are, however, hilarious. Smart, funny, and self-deprecating, they deliver the inner thoughts of her character (also named Issa) in a creative way that’s a fun twist on a standard monologue. (In tonight’s episode she asks herself if she’s going to be the type of woman who steps up and claims her throne like Khaleesi, and really—who hasn’t been there?)

The most famous rap Issa performed on the HBO show (so far), though, was delivered in front of an audience at an LA club’s open mic night. And while most of her character’s raps come from Rae herself, that particular jam, “Broken Pussy,” was written with The Nightly Show’s Larry Wilmore, who co-created the series with Rae.

“The concept…came from me telling Larry about how one of my best friends and I actually had a conversation about that,” Rae said in an interview with WIRED following a screening of her new series in Oakland. “We’d talk about voices for our vagina and it sounded like a mix of Marge Simpson and Scooby-Doo. He was like, ‘Oh, that’s going in there. I don’t care what we write about, but that’s going to be a scene.’”

And so it was. Watch the video above for more from Rae on Insecure’s writing process, use of Los Angeles as a character, and music consultant Solange Knowles.

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