Welcome to Atlanta where the players play!  After two successful seasons with VH1’s “Love & Hip-Hop,” executive producer Mona Scott decided to take her show on the road to see if the New York drama could translate to a successful winning streak in ATL.  The new cast includes producer Stevie J, his girlfriend Mimi Faust, female rapper Joseline, Lil’ Scrappy, Scrappy’s girlfriend Erica Dixon and his mother “Momma Dee,” female rapper Rasheeda and her husband/manager Kirk Frost, singer K Michelle, and singer Karlie Redd.  The spin-off series premiered last night on VH1.

LOVE IT:  The only drama worth focusing on is Stevie J’s balancing act of trying to support his girlfriend and daughter while trying to launch Joseline’s career.  We quickly realize that Stevie isn’t just managing Joseline but also massaging her as well.  His girlfriend gets a strange feeling that something is going on, especially after he attempts to purchase a new home for her far away from where he and Joseline will be working countless hours together.

While he repeatedly denies having a relationship with Joseline we see Stevie kissing her, getting a private dance in the studio, and the chemistry is clearly visible to everyone in his circle.  He now has to decide whether his longtime girlfriend is more important than his new jump-off.

HATE IT:  Whether you love him or hate him, Jim Jones made “Love & Hip-Hop” a success because he was the only New York rapper with clout willing to expose his life to the world and allow cameras to enter his personal space with his mother, fiancée, and manager.  The Jones you saw on camera is the same Jones you will see if you approach him on the street or after a show.  There is nothing compelling about Stevie J. at this point.  He seems to be out of touch or extremely slow in reacting to his girlfriend’s complaints about feeling neglected.  He just doesn’t care.  Lil’ Scrappy doesn’t add anything either.  His domineering mother uses foul language that would make Keyshia Cole’s mother Frankie feel uncomfortable.

VH1 didn’t introduce Stevie J. properly and that’s part of the reason why he isn’t a compelling figure onscreen.  They skimmed over his accomplishments which includes producing “Honey” for Mariah Carey, “I’ll Be Missing You” for Diddy, “Let Me Blow Your Mind” for Eve and Gwen Stefani, “The Things You Do (Remix) for Gina Thompson that featured Missy’s unorthodox flow, and “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” for Biggie Smalls among other hit records.  They also failed to mention that Stevie’s claim to fame beyond music was being Eve’s ex-boyfriend when she was the recognizable female face of Ruff Ryders.  There isn’t any star power here and there won’t be.  VH1 has us waiting for the big brawl to occur between Stevie J. and Lil’ Scrappy but it’s not enough for you to tune in to the network every Monday night.

We get glimpses of LA Reid’s son and Ray Benzino but that’s simply not enough to keep you coming back for more.  If you are going to do a hip-hop lifestyle show in ATL you need T.I., Young Jeezy, Keyshia Cole, Monica, or even a baller like Josh Smith or Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks.  There just isn’t enough substance to justify this show being on the air.  If anything amazing happens, we will all be the last to know.


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