For a lot of rap artists, being real is a selling point. For some rap artists, being real is just them. They’ll never switch up who they are, of course, we all grow as we get older. Some rap artists get dragged into this thing where everything is staged to be real instead of it just genuinely coming from the heart. You have rappers like Trae the Truth, who after hurricane Harvey, he and some other artists and DJs around Houston have been helping non-stop. You also have artists like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole that people will always talk about are real. T.I., Freddie Gibbs, and a few other rappers are also in that real category. Where everything is real and genuine.
That’s what I really focused on last night when I watched Atlanta. There was a sense of Al/Paperboi having to choose what he wanted to be. A real genuine man/rapper or be somebody who does things for publicity. We all sometimes when people come from nothing and get money they let it go to their head. There was a lot to take from the episode, ‘Woods‘. The episode was another Stefani Robinson written episode and her genius showed. This season is Robbin’ Season, and everybody has been robbed of something. Tonight would be the second time Al gets robbed. He’s being robbed of who he was (that’s what fame does), and he gets robbed again.
The episode starts with Paperboi catching an attitude with the people close to him. His mother, Earn, and Darius, but they all kind of brush it off. He goes out to have fun with a woman he’s become close with, Sierra. She’s an Instagram model that sells wigs and things online. This has become a popular way for people, especially women with a social media presence to gain money. They sell products online while also modeling, being in music videos, etc. Some of them are strippers, ex-strippers, MUA, the list really goes on. It’s a money avenue that has come with social media. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that social media can’t get you paid.
While they are out, she tries to explain to Paperboi that he needs to adapt and evolve. She talks to him about how people don’t want famous people to look like them…. Representation though… She also talks to him about Earn, she tells that Earn isn’t working for him because he doesn’t get him free things. Even though Earn has helped Paperboi get as far as he’s gotten. He constantly brushes off her bashing Earn. Their first stop is a clothing store. In the clothing store, she gets upset because nobody is helping them. Which is very common when a POC walks into a store. We either get watched because they think we’re going to steal or we get ignored because people assume we’re broke. Her anger scares the employees and nobody comes to help.
They then take a trip to the nail shop, where Sierra and Paperboi are getting a pedicure. In this scene, she tells Paperboi that there is nothing wrong with men taking care of their bodies. Most men do think that taking care of your hair, hands, feet, etc. is feminine/”gay.” It’s clear that there is nothing wrong with it, and it was cool to see this in an episode of Atlanta to show men that there’s nothing wrong with it. Sierra proceeds to talk about why she wears makeup and always has her hair and nails done. She can’t sell wigs and look homeless, so she always keeps herself up. She also brings up how she is competing with women who aren’t black and have plastic surgery like lip fillers and butt injections to make them look black. Which is a common thing talked about on social media. It also relates to the Earthgang and JID song played at the beginning of the episode titled “Meditate.”
She attacks the nail techs at the salon verbally. They start speaking their native tongue, and then she snaps. She starts to sound like a racist and tell them that they need to speak English. She says that when they start speaking their native language that they are talking about her. She threatens to have the owner remove them from the shop. It’s a pretty crazy scene, but it throws off Paperboi and catches him by surprise.
She also talks to Paperboi about being in a relationship. In her eyes, they could help each other, mesh brands, stay in the spotlight, etc. Basically, be one of those fake celebrity couples or internet couples. Paperboi gets angry after she takes a picture of them at the nail shop. Paperboi doesn’t want to be fake. He wants to be a real man, a real rapper, living his life he’s rapping about. She tells him that he’s already fake, he’s rapping and getting money so according to her, he’s been fake. Paperboi gets up and leaves the shop. They have a pretty crucial exchange and Paperboi walks out.
As he walks, he runs into some fans. He’s walking so they joke about him not having a car. He explains to them that he’s keeping it real… In reality, that’s not always smart, it is Robbin Season. The three teens jump and rob him of his watch and chain. They try to shoot him as well. He takes off running and being chased. After being in the woods for some time, he finds a homeless man. The homeless man seems useless and bitter. In my eyes, he symbolized God. He was talking to Al about so many things, this was a truly humbling moment for Paperboi. He had become cocky and arrogant off of his success. The old man threatened him, tested him, and opened his mind. I always told myself if God ever approached me, he would come as a homeless man. This is the best way to humble any human being or teach them a lesson. He threatened to kill Paperboi of he didn’t make it out of the woods. When he escapes, he cries, he starts to understand that change is needed. He cries and goes to a corner store where he meets a fan. Instead of shunning him off like he normally does, he took the picture. Paperboi needed to be humbled, and the way it happened was golden.
This episode was truly amazing. Some celebrities or people with money struggle with this all the time. They gain a confidence that turns into an ego and continues to grow as arrogance. It truly hurts them as a person and destroys the soul. I enjoyed this very much.
Rating – 9/10
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know @SuperBroMovies!
Starring Donald Glover, Keith Stanfield, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Zazie Beets:
Atlanta is one of the top cities for young rappers looking to make a name for themselves in the business. Among those up-and-comers is Alfred Miles, a hot new artist who is trying to understand the line between real life and street life. He is managed by his cousin, Earn, who gets caught up in the local rap scene and his cousin’s career after returning home to the ATL. Earn does whatever he can to try to get Alfred’s career to the next level. Darius, the rapper’s right-hand man and visionary, is also in Alfred’s entourage. When Earn isn’t busy managing his cousin’s career, he spends much of his time with best friend Vanessa, who is also the mother of his daughter.