All reality shows are not created equal. The diversity that exists among single franchises like The Real Housewives is proof of this. Each show caters to a different audience and offers a different hot take. Growing Up Hip Hop, a relatively new franchise from WE Tv, follows the lives of the young adult children of famous hip-hop artists. If Love & Hip Hop evolved from commercial trap rapper to music industry mogul and then had a teenage daughter, Growing Up Hip Hop would be her. The first installment stars Romeo Miller and Angela Simmons — the son of Master P and daughter of Rev. Run, respectively — who are also executive producers on the series. Following its success — and because you can’t do anything related to hip-hop without including this major city — the network debuted its next installment, Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta last night.
Following the same recipe, GUHHATL — the acronym that also serves as the official hashtag, of course — is even more relevant to young audiences. Where the parents of their New York peers are hip-hop pioneers well past their glory days in the limelight, the cast of GUHHATL is still more likely to be overshadowed by moms and dads who still make headlines.
Reginae Carter is a former member of the short-lived girl group OMG Girlz and the outspoken and very spoiled daughter of rapper Lil Wayne and Toya Wright. Her friend and former bandmate, Zonnique Pullins is the daughter of T.I. and Tiny. Jermaine Dupri’s daughter Shaniah is also part of the Atlanta squad alongside Brandon Barnes, who calls Debra Antney, the no-nonsense hip-hop manager who has worked with Nicki Minaj, his mom. Barnes’ cousin is Ayana Fite, daughter of the Beastie Boys’ DJ Hurricane.
The main character, Bow Wow, is the exception. Listed as one of the show’s executive producers, Bow Wow and his inflated ego are at the forefront of GUHHATL. The first episode opens with a montage of all of his accomplishments, which include being a popular rapper over a decade ago and dating famous women. Jermaine Dupri, who signed Bow Wow to So So Def in 2000 when his name was still prefixed with Lil, is also one of the series' executive producers.
As with most reality shows, the first episode set the tone for a lot of the drama to come on this season. They recount the controversy surrounding Lil Wayne’s comments about Black Lives Matter, T.I.’s public Instagram response, Reginae’s two cents in defense of her father, and how the whole thing affects her friendship with Zonnique. We know that some guys in Atlanta don’t like Bow Wow, and
they are all of us we can’t imagine why. Shaniah is something of a goody two shoes, who is undoubtedly going to butt heads with her overprotective father. Brandon is already butting heads with Ms. Deb, and Ayana has quit her day job to pursue a dream to some very mixed reactions.
The allure of GUHHATL is its potential to give viewers another take on the headlines that they’ve read on The Shade Room and TMZ. I’m glad that young Black audiences are finally getting the behind-the-scenes production they deserve.