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Atlanta Season 2 Episode 2 Sportin Waves

Atlanta’s 2nd Season Shows How ‘White’ the Black Hip Hop Industry Really Is

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Atlanta is a TV show with a Hip Hop narrative. It is about upcoming rapper artiste Alfred, played by Brian Tyree Henry, who raps as Paper Boi. Earn, played by Donald Glover, is his manager and cousin, who appears to see the up-and-coming rapper as his ticket to relevance in the Hip Hop music industry. But, it’s during Atlanta’s 2nd season where we learn just how ‘white’ things really are in today’s Black Hip Hop world.

Paper Boi, Earn and Their Favorite Sidekick Chillin' in the ATL.
Paper Boi, Earn and Their Favorite Sidekick Chillin’ in the ATL. Image Source: Vulture

About Atlanta the TV Show

Both Paper Boi and Earn are hustlers, with the rapper also dealing drugs in the background, supposedly until his music career takes off. But as is the norm for rappers, his journey in the music world gets deterred a number of times thanks to Hip-Hop police cases and family demands.

One commenter says:

“Atlanta is creative, funny, fresh, innovative, weird, fever-dreamy and makes me feel like I’m on ride.”

The commenter may have made a point there. But not everyone agrees that it is one of the best shows on TV. The reason is simple:

“The show’s second season expertly skewers everything that’s wrong with the music industry,” Vulture wrote.

Atlanta 2nd Season Reveals White People Still Play Roles in Black-Dominated Hip Hop Music


Paper Boi deals with White management on Atlanta's 2nd season... Sportin Waves episode.
Paper Boi deals with White management on Atlanta’s 2nd season… Sportin’ Waves episode. Image Source: Punished Backlog

Although Earn knows little about his music managerial job, he manages to get Paper Boi local clout and a song on the radio. But the duo are still far from becoming a national success. Suddenly, it becomes apparent that Paper Boi has more family obligations than was initially obvious. So they both need more money to survive the daily grind.

In the Sportin’ Waves episode, Paper Boi and Earn go to a music streaming startup to improve their chances of hitting it big. They meet a man known as ’35 Savage;, a white man who claims to handle music outreach. He talks about using his firm’s platform to give Paper Boi a wider reach.

He asks Earn to email Paper Boi’s song to his Hotmail instead of handing him a CD. Earn does, but 35 Savage and his white team seem to have another agenda on their minds. The rapper begins to feel like they are about to be scammed.

Atlanta’s 2nd Season Reflects New Rapper’s Initial Hustle of Swimming among the Sharks

Paper Boi performs for the sharks in the 2nd season of Atlanta.
Paper Boi performs for the sharks in the 2nd season of Atlanta. Image Source: Punished Backlog

Jamal Olori, a writer for the Atlanta TV show says:

“So much of the music business is political, You would think it’s about putting all your energy into the music, but the reality is you have to show face. If you’re authentic, like Paper Boi, it can start to feel like prostitution. Everything’s being used to create content.”

35 Savage advises Paper Boi to do a rap song that could be included in the platform’s rap playlist. But he wants the artiste to sound more like a gangster.

The rapper sees that as some sort of racial profiling and eventually walks out of a show put on for him. However, he and Earn still got token compensation for their stint on the platform before they decided to call it quits with 35 Savage.

This resembles real-life in the world of Hip Hop. Even in 2018, there’s always a hint of Caucasian color, whether it’s out front or behind the scenes. Atlanta’s 2nd season brings to reality the idea that “the white man” is still the driving force behind many Hip Hop successes.

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