’99 Problems & Sound Is One’: Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta, Season 1, Episode 6

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Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta is a pure hot mess! This episode continued with the cast at Reginae’s birthday dinner, hosted by Bow Wow. Reginae asked Brandon to apologize for talking about her dad and he refused. The two began loud talking each other at the table, which ultimately caused him to walk off with his cousin, Ayana. By the time the cousins reached the hallway, Toya Wright, Reginae’s mom, and a few of her male cousins were waiting to handle him. Ayana pleaded with the guys not to beat Brandon’s ass while Toya went in on him with her New Orleans accent. While Brandon and Toya couldn’t reach an understanding — she told him, “You can’t help save him [Lil Wayne], baby. He’s already saved!” — it seemed like she and Ayana did. The scene ended with Toya comforting Reginae before she left the joint (with Zonnique in tow) to head to her real 18th birthday party. Bow Wow felt bad for inviting Brandon to the dinner but none of it was his fault. Those two hated each other before his attempted role as peacemaker.

Reginae’s 18th birthday party happens and Lil Wayne is there clad in a hot pink zip up jacket. While everyone is fighting over Wayne, he’s visibly chilling and living his sheltered skateboard ass life.

Brandon explains the birthday dinner incident to Ms. Deb who is COMPLETELY over this Lil Wayne shit. (I mean really. We’re on Episode 6 and still talking about the same argument.) She gives Brandon more advice that he chooses to ignore.

Ayana presents her dad DJ Hurricane with three pieces from her fashion line. Her goal is to secure an investment check from him to fully pursue the line and avoid being homeless. The clothes look underdeveloped but dad cuts the check anyway. In light of the moment, Ayana asks her dad to agree to meet her girlfriend Amy over dinner. He reluctantly agrees and warns her that he won’t hold back his feelings if he doesn’t like her.

Another contrived scene with Bow Wow and his friends take place! The ambiguous clique is blowing off steam at the bowling alley when Bow Wow catches wind of social media attacks from DJ Funkmaster Flex. The DJ calls Bow Wow a mumble rapper, causing him to retaliate with a tidal wave of clap-backs in his confessional. Ironically, Flex’s shade motivated Bow Wow to finally start working…the reason why he moved to Atlanta in the first place. He meets with mentor Snoop Dogg (again), who seems as annoyed with Shad as me, for (another) pep talk. Bow Wow says their talk was “the breath of fresh air” he needed and proceeds to bop down the hallway. Cool! If this is what he needed to fulfill his obligations, by all means, take it. But sir, please just work and return to your family.

Brandon is nervous asf about his upcoming showcase. Real talk, him sweating bullets is interesting to watch. This is the first time we’ve seen Brandon show emotion, specifically nervousness, and it almost makes him seem human.

Bow Wow finally takes out his frustration of DJ Funkmaster Flex in the studio. It took all that pomp and circumstance for…you know what, never mind. Kudos, Shad. After spitting a verse, he pulls up to Brandon’s first ever showcase with Zonnique and crew. The place is packed with performers and shows Ms. Deb, Big Tiger, and rapper Bone Crusher as panelists. But as soon as things seem to be going well, an issue with the sound occurs. You can’t have a musical showcase with shitty sound!

Zonnique shades Brandon’s event via text with Reginae and leaves with Bow Wow. It was obvious the two were there under contract. Zonnique deaded their relationship two episodes ago and you just can’t convince me that Brandon and Bow Wow have a friendship, to begin with. The artists are performing for their lives but with the sound being janky, the crowd (or panelists) can’t really rock right. Ms. Deb begins a well-deserved tirade that breaks at the Ayana-Amy-DJ Hurricane scene.

The trio has fried foods for dinner, which possibly can’t help the tension hanging over their table. Off rip, Ayana’s dad isn’t feeling her relationship. He doesn’t agree with Ayana being a lesbian and comes off curt throughout the dinner. Amy is nervous but somehow gets through it.

Honey B, an Atlanta rapper who was invited to perform at Brandon’s showcase, bombed on stage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t due to sound but because she forgot the words. Brandon LOSES his shit and embarrasses her in the packed place by cutting her performance and taking her off stage. As tears well up in Honey B’s eyes while Brandon is ripping her a new asshole, Ms. Deb affirms her in a way he couldn’t. A confused Brandon wonders why his lecture didn’t resonate with Honey B the way Ms. Deb’s did. The difference isn’t their tone (because they’re both hard asf!) but instead their delivery. Brandon yelled and barked at Honey B while Ms. Deb talked to her. And a swift 15 minutes later, it became apparent that Ms. Deb “stole” Honey B as an artist right in Brandon’s face.

The episode ended with Brandon being appalled at Ms. Deb’s move on his artist. A part of me let out a small laugh because Brandon’s been verbally reckless and diva-like the entire season. The other part of me feels for Brandon, who wanted to prove himself to both Deb and Atlanta that he could develop good artists. He can stand to learn a lot from Deb but perhaps she could have held off on hijacking his showcase.

Next week Deb sets up a meeting with Bow Wow and his estranged father. I’ll be watching to see if the father-son duo can repair their relationship and move forward. Will you?

Catch video clips of episode 6 here.

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Ariel C. Williams is the founding editor-in-chief of Slay Culture. She’s a millennial who’s down for the culture, loves Netflix, and pegs Master P as one of her entrepreneurial heroes. Buy her book The Girl Talk Chronicles here. Follow her at @ArielSaysNow everywhere.

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Slay Culture curates content and experiences for smart and lit Black millennials. Follow us online everywhere at @SlayCulture.

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