The debut season of Atlanta offered commentary on police brutality, while also featuring storylines that included an invisible car and a black Justin Bieber. It was, as Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi) recently told Rolling Stone, a “land of absurdity.”
The Rolling Stone profile features commentary from Henry and the show’s co-creators. They echo statements Lakeith Stanfield made to Complex last year about the show about being “licked thumb out into the wind” in terms of covering current issues.
One such issue is the hip-hop culture at large, as one episode will reportedly feature Paper Boi with an artist who writes verses full of drug references but lives healthy outside of the booth.
“Rap started as this very black, socio-political type of thing,” Stephen Glover told Rolling Stone. “And now it’s turned into pop music—we laugh about how everybody is doing the same thing in all of their songs. They’re all doing the same drugs, drinking the same lean, whether they’re Justin Bieber or the most grimy rapper. Not all of these people are really drinking lean! They just know how to sell records.”
Hiro Murai, who is credited with directing seven episodes from the first season of Atlanta, also drew a musical analogy to Kanye West’s first two projects.
“We’ve kind of been comparing the season to a sophomore record from a new artist,” added Murai. “Internally we’ve drawn Kanye parallels—if the first season is College Dropout, this one is Late Registration.”
Whether that Late Registration mentality means no more storylines featuring characters with transracial identity issues remains to be seen. Season 2 of Atlanta is scheduled for a March 1 premiere.