HBO’s new comedy Insecure is worth watching for so many reasons — including creator and star Issa Rae’s wholehearted performance and hilarious dissection of the unfortunate realities of everyday racism. With every episode, another aspect of the show sets itself apart.
In particular, Insecure’s music is an integral part of the series, from the raps Rae’s character spits at her own reflection in an effort to pump herself up to the soundtrack punctuating scenes with a carefully chosen beat.
As Rae told me back in August, that "carefully chosen" part is crucial to creating not just a vibe for the series, but to underscore the characters’ emotions when they need it most. And it’s all thanks to Insecure’s wildly talented music consultant, Solange Knowles.
Solange’s stunning album A Seat at the Table offers one of 2016’s best and most meaningful commentaries on the intersection of race and art, so it’s no surprise that Insecure would be thrilled to have her thoughtful input when crafting the show’s soundtrack.
It also just so happens that Rae had an in via Insecure director Melina Matsoukas, who’s worked with Solage and her sister Beyoncé for years (most recently with Beyoncé on Lemonade). To hear Rae tell the story of how Solange came to work on Insecure, she couldn’t believe her own luck:
It happened because Melina casually dropped it: "Oh, by the way, I was talking to Solange, and I think she’d be a really good music supervisor or consultant for this show." And I was like, "Bitch, call her right now."
Then we actually did an interview with her. We disrespected her and had her tell us why she should do it. But she’s so great and down to earth, and the fact that we’re on emails with her asking her for song suggestions for particular scenes blows my mind.
The songs you’ll hear on Insecure are alternately sexy, angry, and joyful, featuring artists from Drake to Vince Staples, Blood Orange to D’Angelo. Paired with Matsoukas’s direction, as her camera sweeps over South LA’s dusty days and inky blue nights, they can be transcendent.
Lucky for those of us who can’t get enough, Insecure has compiled the soundtrack for each episode in a Spotify playlist.
If you need a jolt of new music in your life — or even if you don’t — get thee over to Spotify and tune into the four playlists the show has created so far, which come out after new episodes air on Sunday nights. My personal favorite used to be the one for episode three ("Racist as Fuck"), but then the one for episode four ("Thirsty as Fuck") came out, and now I may have to accept the fact that they’re probably just going to get better with every episode.
Insecure is currently available to stream on HBO Go. Listen to the playlist for "Thirsty as Fuck" below, and check out the rest at Insecure’s Spotify profile.