Atlanta
Credit: ScreenRant

If Atlanta’s second season is the Late Registration to the first season’s College Dropout, then season two’s third episode, “Money Bag Shawty” is the “My Way Home” or “Celebration”. It’s a great episode, but it’s not a standout episode alongside the outstanding previous two episodes. “Money Bag Shawty” starts out with a white suburban soccer mom making an Instagram story lamenting the language used in Al’s song, “Paper Boy”. The video, which is a call out to the video done by a mother in response to Vince Staple’s “Norf Norf”, is funny and well done, but it doesn’t have the same weirdly brilliant feeling that other cultural allusions like “Black Justin Beiber or “Florida Man” did.

Following the suburban soccer mom hissy fit, we find ourselves with Atlanta’s Big 3, Earn, Al and Darius. The three are enjoying shots when again someone notices Al and asks to be put on. Al does what Al is supposed to do and ignores the guy. Before Al can shut down the wanna-be musician, rapper or producer extraordinaire, the guy tells Earn to shut up when Earn tries to get the guy to leave his cousin alone. This moment is the catalyst for what ensues over the next twenty minutes. From that moment on, Earn vows to never get stunted on again. It’s a bold statement from a guy who you would assume at some point had stunted on people when he got a full ride to Princeton. Similar to previous episodes, Earn spends the duration of the episode of blowing money fast….really fast. In the span of one night, he blows nearly a grand in cash all while being accused of using fake $100 bills because…racism.

On the journey of Earn’s spending spree, we are reminded of the real world stupidities of unnecessary expenses at the strip club, the emergence of VIP seating at movie theaters and we are also reintroduced to Van. It’s not clear what exactly she’s doing since she lost her job, but she still has the apartment and she still is the series most enigmatic character. However, these aren’t really the highlights of the episode. The highlight of the season’s third episode sits inside a reunion scene between Al and the Yoohoo! sponsored rapper who is a blend of Black Justin Beiber and Lil Yachty.  During the in-studio scene between Al and Black Justin Yachty, we get a few inside jokes about how engineers are often treated during studio sessions, but there is also a small portion that could play into something bigger down the line. While in the studio, Black Justin Yachty and Al don’t actually finish recording anything, but talk for a few moments about Black Justin Yachty’s Yoohoo! deal. During the conversation, Black Justin Yachty praises the work of his manager and says that Al has the ability to achieve the same level of success he has. In response, Al pauses and the scene’s focus ultimately shifts back to the engineer getting yelled at.

That moment of doubt from Al could be nothing, but it could also be the beginning of the end of Earn as Al’s manager. Al was originally hesitant to bring Earn in, but to his credit, Earn has gotten Earn a few opportunities. With that being said, Al is still where he was at the beginning and he has more people to take care of now than he did when he started rapping. Not to mention, in every episode since Earn was told that merely getting arrested could violate his probation he has been put in positions where he could get arrested. First, it was when the police showed up Katt Williams house. Next, Earn could have gotten arrested for merely being around Tracy if the mall didn’t have a “no chase” policy. This episode, he had a run-in with cops even though his $100 bill was real. At the rate this season is going, Earn will be in some legal trouble by the end of it and Al will be managed by Earn’s former classmate at Princeton. Maybe then and only then, we’ll actually find out what to Earn at Princeton. Until then, we’ll just have to wait until next Thursday.

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