UPDATE 6/19: I’ve added a poll for folks who saw the episode Monday. Did you enjoy it?
I have to admit I don’t watch VH1’s original “Love & Hip Hop” so I can’t compare and contrast it with “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.” I’ll let fans comment on that once the Atlanta version debuts June 18.
But I can give you a sense on how the first episode plays out.
“The hustle is meanest in the A,” a narrator says in the opening, “especially for the women. In this town, you have to fight to get what you want. Then fight even harder to keep it.”
There are no real big names here. No Usher. No Big Boi. No T.I. (He already has a show on VH1!)
But you get what you would expect, mostly in terms of male-female dynamics. Many of the hip-hop guys are unfaithful, the women who love them grappling with whether to stick with them. And it’s rough being a woman in the hip-hop business.
The primary plotline the first episode revolved around Stevie J, his long-time girlfriend Mimi Faust and his client Joseline.
It’s a classic love triangle. Stevie J is a former big-time Grammy-winning producer (Diddy, Jay-Z). He’s now working with this ghetto-ish, scary-looking rapper Joseline. His girlfriend Mimi seems sweet but has obviously tolerated a lot of his philandering over a long 15 year relationship.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all,” Mimi said. “There seems to be a difference between what Steve says and what Stevie does.” She say sometimes, he’s nice, sometimes he’s “a nightmare.” He wants to buy her and their two-year-old daughter a home far away from the core of Atlanta while he works in the studio and keeps a place in town. That sounds suspicious. He accuses her of being ungrateful for not wanting the house. Then they come to loggerheads over Joseline at a party. Is he cheating on Mimi again?
Lil Scrappy is the biggest name here, since he actually has had a big hip-hop hit in 2006 called “Money in the Bank.” He had been dating his girlfriend Erica Dixon for ten years. He left her at one point to date a rapper Diamond, who then dumped him for Soulja Boy. He’s now back with Erica, who they share a six-year-old daughter. But Erica is struggling with whether to really take him back. “I feel the love but it ain’t clickin’ on that end,” he said, criticizing her for not being affectionate. “It’s round two,” she said. “It’s all or nothing.” His overprotective, voluble “Momma Dee” makes an impression, too.
The other cast members are given relatively cursory introductions so it’s hard to say how their plotlines will play out. There’s rapper Rasheeda clashing with her manager and husband Kirk Frost and two other hip-hop artists angling for publicity: K Michelle, who has a record deal with Jive but lost it to a man who beat her and ripped her off, and Karlie Redd.
“Love & Hip Hop,” 8 p.m. Mondays, VH1
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk