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He Say / She Say: the case for ‘Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’

May 7, 2013
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Bro Jackson’s resident power couple talks it out.

Marketed as a southern-fried tale of struggle, love, and temptation, “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” tastes like a delicious plate of fish and grits served at an after-hours spot with greasy tables, gum-smacking waitresses, and quality entertainment in the parking lot. Full of played-out racial stereotypes, cheesy confessionals, and underwhelming fights, it would seem like any college-educated person would know better than to spend an hour every Monday covered in the filth of has-been and never-been rappers and their predictable drama.

Nah, not us.

Here’s 10 reasons why anyone with sense should watch “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” with no shame.

10. “Mimi may be the worst black woman ever.”

Courtney Cox: First of all, it’s ok, we’re black.

I think one of the main characters, Joseline, pretty much sums up Mimi’s situation when she says,“Mimi’s been around for 15 years, she’s got all them wrinkles, she look like an old lady, she’s always stressed out, she has nothing to show for it, and she’s just wasted 15 years of her life.”  Mimi will claim in every episode that her main focus is raising her child, but she somehow always ends up confusing that with getting back with Stevie J. (affectionately known as Steebie J. due to Joseline’s inability to speak), and then arguing when it ends exactly the way it’s ended the past 20 times on this show. She moves into Stevie’s house to make sure that Joseline isn’t running amok around her daughter, but she suuuuuuure looks comfortable in that bed. Teej calls this “fake fed up.” Mimi has recently moved out of Stevie J.’s place and now has her own apartment, so now she thinks she is in a perfect place to give everyone else advice about their own troubles. Perfect.

T.J. Finley: Mimi is, absolutely and without a doubt, the worst black woman ever. And no, I don’t limit that to reality TV. Just like last season–which was historically amazing in a trashy-yet-amazing kind of way, like a foam party or having sex in an airport bathroom–Mimi has the same routine:

1. Argue with Stevie J.

2. Somehow lose the argument despite the fact that she’s clearly in the right.

3. Make some “fake fed up gesture” (i.e. packing his clothes in a box, storming out of the house, or recently, throwing a glass of water on him).

4. Find some way to meet up with Stevie despite telling him it’s over (my favorite: calling him to come pick up his stuff only to present him with one bum ass box). In last night’s episode, after moving out and even having an “Independence Party,” (do women really have these in real life?) she finds some way to meet back up with him for no reason at all. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

5. Take Stevie back.

6. Repeat.

It’s so tragic. She also lost her man to something that I’m pretty sure is a billy goat and not really a woman. She sets black women back at least 37 years.

9. LHHATL is where phrases like “don’t hate the player, hate the game” go to die.

CC: I literally heard Joseline tell Benzino that in an interview, and I was transferred back to high school. The language (not just the profanity) of this show is unique. Scrappy (yes, the artist formerly known as Lil’ Scrappy) adds the suffix “-naiyeeeeee” to almost every normal word (ex. thiznaieeeee = thing, biznaieeeee = business, fiznaieeeee = fact); Joseline has moments where she doesn’t seem to be speaking English or Spanish (especially in her music), and Momma Dee sounds like an old black man telling stories at a spades table at all times. It took me a while to catch on to what everyone had going on linguistically, but we’re good now. Except when Joseline calls Stevie J.’s member a “beefcake” (gross). She’s gotta chill.

TJ: Try middle school. This is all I think of when she says that.

8. Joseline’s singing and dancing.

CC: So Joseline is an aspiring performer that seems to lack the business savvy, talent, or looks to be successful in the music industry, but to her credit, she won’t stay out of the studio. The few chances we are exposed to her “brand,” I can’t catch my breath from laughing. The awkward gyrations, lack of understandable lyrics, and tone-deaf nature of her music have me dying every time. Have I mentioned that everything Joseline wears looks like it came straight out of the 1997 film “B*A*P*S?” Another question that has yet to be answered about Joseline Hernandez’s career: What is the name of this single that Stevie J. is holding hostage? He keeps saying it’s not ready, but I don’t think it’s ever going to be ready for public consumption. Joseline’s finally fed up with being a singer with no music and an unknown contract. 1 It’s taken a while, but we’re here. Her performance last episode at the gay club earned her a whopping $7000 (split between Joseline and her “new manager” 50/50. The girl is lacking in savvy), and I still have no idea how to describe the genre of music she’s trying to represent. I will give it to her, she charged Stevie J. up STRONG; I was impressed she made the Malcolm X connection with his attire, all things considering. Did anyone else wonder why Stevie was in the gay club asking about his money? Was he just stopping through for a drink and just happened to want to discuss her contract?

TJ: It’s a good thing that Joseline speaks in Spanish for about 43% of her lyrics, because nobody wants to hear those struggle tunes.  The “Love and Hip Hop” franchise is great for doomed tunes from the likes of Erica Mena and <sigh> Tahiry. Tahiry is way too fine to be making such shitty music, especially considering that she’s basically a bartender. They always play snippets of different Joseline songs, and it always sounds like a female version of Daddy Yankee. Last night, they showed her performing that same bum ass song (Stevie really gotta get her a single bruh). Joseline is hilarious, however. When she said “I needed someone to talk to so I called up Karly Redd because I know her old ass loves to gossip” in Monday’s episode, she gave us vintage Joseline: hilarious, messy, mean, yet always honest.

CC: You gotta stop lusting after Tahiry. I’m serious, bro.

TJ: Don’t do this here.

7. Stevie J’s game is on a trillion. Take notes.

lovehiphopsteviej

CC: Stevie J. is known for his moves with the ladies, mainly power moves that either sweep them off their feet, or make them aware of his influence in their life. And he has this weird smirk. When discussing Joseline’s contract, he breaks down the specifics of her music deal with “First of all, let’s take it issue by issue, Do I own you? YES.” He approached Mimi before she leaves him (again) by pulling out a rose and performing the classic “she loves me, she loves me not” routine, complete with petal pulling. When his romance lacked the charm to keep Mimi in the house, he completely switched up demeanor and said, “You know I can find you, right? You’ll be back.” What a charmer. The saddest part of that is, he’s right. Mimi, as previously stated, is the worst black woman ever, and will no doubt return to Stevie J. before the reunion show.

TJ: Stevie J is the GAWD. In a three-way counseling session with Mimi and Joseline last season (the fact that he got his side chick and his baby mama to go to therapy together shows you how amazing this guy is), he told both of these women that they were on his bus and he was the driver. Which is hilarious and true. She acted fake mad at the time, but we knew she’d be back underneath him in the next episode (and she was). Stevie is really a guerrilla pimp. He gives zero fucks, even when that old decrepit zombie Benzino (we’ll address this later) gives him what sounds like good advice. Stevie is never going to change but since these women let him do whatever he wants, why should he? We could all learn a bit from Stevie. Swag him out! In last night’s episode, he basically threatened to stalk Mimi (sounding hella creepy in the process) and got charged up and disrespected by Joseline. Looks like she’s back in his bed in next week’s episode though. Gotta respect his persistence.

6. K. Michelle could be the best character on the show, probably because I’d actually like to be her friend.

CC: K. Michelle never ceases to amaze me, I’m not sure if it’s her constantly changing hairstyles (her wig rotation is sick); her authenticity to self (I have never seen her avoid confrontation); or her one-liners. In the second episode, she described Joseline perfectly by saying she looked like she sleeps on beds without sheets. Until she said that, I had no idea what a person with that particular lack of home training would look like, but I do now. Perfect description. She also threw hot candle wax on Rasheeda, which I now know is a potential threat at a housewarming party. Good to know. I’ll let Teej handle future discussion of her figure, but she is dragging a wagon.

TJ: YAMBZ! I mean, other than the fact that she’s hilarious (her motto is “Zero fucks given…BITCHES!”), this really speaks for itself…

And this…

And this…

She’s no Tahiry, but I can’t say I’m not jealous of Ryan Lochte for hitting that.

CC: Did you see her do that booty bump with Mimi at the boxing joint? Mannnnn…

TJ: Oh, and she’s extra hood. She really threw a candle and dropkicked Rasheeda without even getting out of her chair. Then she referenced “waxing” Rasheeda later.

5. The hairstyles, clothes, and cleavage.

CC: I’ve been to Atlanta before, and I acknowledge that it is the black fashion capital of the country, and this show does not disappoint. I’ve noticed in these “Love and Hip Hop” franchises that both Scrappy and Joe Budden (from “Love and Hip Hop New York”) have a strange affinity for vests. Either that, or they’re solving the whole “chest is cold, but arms are not” issue. I don’t know where they’re buying these vests in every pattern and animal fur, or with so many pockets, but I guess that’s the look. The women have all the weaves and wigs I see at the beauty supply store (some decent, some awful), but I’m always amazed at how great everyone’s cleavage is. Those puppies are pushed to the heavens and I just need to know what I’m doing wrong.

TJ: The danger of watching shows like this is losing respect for people if you had any for them prior to the show. I was always a huge Budden fan, but seeing how lame he is (including his constant wearing of vests) has honestly affected how I listen to his old music. Anyway, every woman in this show wears some super amazing comic book bra so there are tits literally everywhere. This season, Shay/Buckeey (of previous “Flavor of Love” fame) is the main culprit. Her nemesis for Scrappy’s heart, Erica, tends to dress a little more conservatively, and for good reason–last season she wore some of the worst lingerie I’ve ever seen. Joseline wears no clothes at all, but trust me, that is not a good thing.

CC: I told you Budden was lame years ago, but I’m sleep though. Cosign on Erica’s awful lingerie– it was kind of like a badly built swimsuit, and kind of like a skimpy club outfit. And she also seems to lack cooking skills.

4. A case study on the long-term effects of rap beef.

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CC: So Benzino is on this show, and if you don’t know who that is, he is mostly known these days as a low-rung rapper who had beef with Eminem, was crushed mercilessly by one of the best battle rappers ever, and immediately retired after. Along with killing his career, the feud with Marshall Mathers seemed to age Benzino significantly, both in looks and mannerisms. He’s become a sort of hip hop leper, given that his girlfriend last season eventually left him partly due to pressure from her manager not to be associated with a loser. And now, word on the street is he’s going around lying about sleeping with Joseline. Ok.

TJ: Eminem was making jokes about Benzino’s age in like 2007, 2 so we shouldn’t be surprised that he really looks like someone’s grandfather. Benzino is like Larry Holmes, flabby and sick. Em put the Nail in the Coffin. Not only does he look terrible (WTF does he have tear tattoos? He caught some bodies on the mean streets of Boston?), he also serves no purpose other than to get into terrible relationships (last season he gave Karly Redd a key to his place after only a few dates), and to give Stevie advice that he knows Stevie won’t take. Can’t hate though, Benzino has made a career for himself with absolutely no talent to speak of. At all. So he kinda fits right into this show.

3. Reality TV-style fighting is plentiful.

CC: The thing about fights on reality shows–most of the time they end before they even start. The camera guy, producer, intern, etc. jump between the combatants, or the camerawork is lacking so you never understand who won if you happen to blink. Except for anytime K. Michelle is involved, because she’s a champion and stays ready to verball or physically assault someone. Rasheeda’s faux-husband Kirk might be next. This show does a lot of the separation thing, except for that one time Scrappy and Stevie J. ended up fake wrestling in a bush. Most of the time, though, heated conversations end with drinks or other liquids thrown in the face, quick sucker punches, or quotable banter between the two, three, or four people involved. Last night’s episode with Erica and Scrappy was one of the most confusing fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Was there a bad edit in there? Can someone explain why Erica was so turnt up 10 minutes into the meal?

TJ: This season, we’re going to see Erica fight Momma Dee. If Momma Dee gets hulled after all the crap she talks, it’s gonna be in the top five greatest reality show moments ever. The men on this show can’t fight at all, so it’s hilarious to see them try. Plus, nothing the guys do will be able to top Consequence sneak-attacking Budden at the “Love and Hip Hop New York” reunion. Last night, we had two skermishes: the one I alluded to earlier between Rasheeda and K. Michelle (which started when K. Michelle made fun of Rasheeda’s husband for wearing three earrings, which he later corrected her on because it’s actually four earrings) and the big Scrappy Royal Family showdown. Now far be it from me to think that Scrappy brings anything that resembles common sense to the show, but he may really be the voice of reason this season <gasps>. He’s in an impossible position, trying to stand between his mother, Scar after she took over the Pridelands, and Erica. In the sit down he was trying to straighten everyone out and Erica went nuts for no reason. There had to be some shady editing done by Mona Scott and the staff because shit was crazy. He’s absolutely right to ask for his ring back, just ask Mario Williams

2. Momma Dee

CC: Scrappy’s mama, who at some point in time crowned herself “Queen of the South,” calls Scrappy a prince, and constantly makes references to royalty, thrones, and a lot of stuff I really don’t understand. I think last episode she said “OFF WITH HER HEAD!” and I laughed for about 10 minutes straight. She doesn’t find Erica, Scrappy’s fiancee, a suitable princess, and has spent the better part of the past 10 episodes trying to dethrone her from Prince Scrappy’s heart. I’m sure she’s pretty excited about the new possibility that the wedding may be off. She wants to arrange a marriage with reality show veteran Shay (previously seen on “Flavor of Love” as Buckeey), and has started to go on these weird dates with her behind Scrappy‘s back in order to preserve their lineage as royalty. I’m not sure of Shay’s credentials, but Momma Dee has taken a strong liking to her, and will do anything to prevent Scrappy and Erica from staying together, including giving weird warnings such as “once bitten, twice shot, keep one eye open for the bad guy.” Deep?

TJ: Momma Dee has to chill. I will skip the question of how Lil’ Scrappy STILL thinks he’s the “Prince of the South” after not having a hit in like 10 years, but I’m pretty sure Momma Dee REALLY thinks she is the Queen. Like, she really thinks she has a palace, and a throne, and everything. Scrappy was in the studio minding his own business (recording a song called “Put Dem Paws on Em,” which sounded like a mixture of “FILA” and “Head Bussa” but whatever) and she brings in Shay.

How are you gonna go to such lengths to break up your son’s engagement to have him date a chick who has open-mouth kissed Flavor Flav on TV?

1. Traci has made her first appearance on the show, and she is laughable.

CC: At first, I had high hopes for young Traci. She first appeared as a radio DJ, 3 she talked about being a mother first, and how she supports having a healthy relationship with the father of her child because it’s important that he grows up in the best environment possible. Word. However, the first interaction we see between Traci and her child’s father, Drew, occurs right after she reveals that they broke up because he cheated on her during her pregnancy with their kid. Literally one of the most low down moves possible.

I’m ready to put my Team Traci t-shirt on for her being the bigger person in a situation when I COULD NOT, and then this light-skinned, baby-faced guy walks in and she loses it. She’s jealous, suspicious of groupies being around her son due to this guy’s lifestyle (he’s Chris Brown’s DJ, so…yeah.), and a million things that she already knew about him to be true. <sigh> Traci, get your life. The next time we see them interact, she’s coming to pick up their son, who she named after his father, the man that cheated on her while she was carrying his child, and he has the audacity to ask her for $25,000. So he can start a sneaker boutique. Traci, expecting no more than dinner and child exchange, goes on the strangest tangent involving all of the stipulations if she were to give him the money. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE THIS MAN THAT KIND OF MONEY? He asked her for 25 grand without breaking a sweat. That happened. And she is actually considering it. Girl, bye.

TJ: Nothing to see here. This chick wears a ton of makeup. I knew she was bad news from jump. The situation itself is sad too, because she is just another woman–there are lots of them on “Love and Hip Hop” and in real life–who acts like they don’t want their ex, but then uses the old “I don’t care what you do, but I don’t want you doing that shit around my kid” excuse. 4 Nobody has time for that. It’s clear she wants her ex back, I just hope he continues to knock down groupies and leaves her alone. End of the day, they are both kind of lame, so at least if he keeps sleeping around, we’ll get more arguments. Traci is already a more compelling character than Benzino or Olivia, so she has that going for her.

 

Notes:

  1. She said out loud in the second episode, “I didn’t even read the contract (that she signed with Stevie J.), because I thought he was full of shit. I was just fucking him, going out to eat, having fun. And I signed the paper, I didn’t take it that serious because I didn’t know I’d be the star that I am.” Oh.
  2. “I would never claim to be no, Ray Benzino/an 83-year-old fake Pacino”
  3. Boasting as the only female DJ in Atlanta? I gotta go look that up…
  4. Mimi has also used this.

Courtney Cox is a senior writer for BroJackson.com. She has previously worked for ESPN, Longhorn Network and the Pasadena NPR affiliate. When not enjoying outdoor food festivals, she can be found rooting for Dallas teams and the Texas Longhorns. She lives in Los Angeles with a Giants fan (ugh) and a puppy.