Oh gracious! I wasn't even a minute in to watching last night's premiere of the original Love & Hip Hop when I realized it had gone by way of Atlanta. It's over stylized and filmed as if it's rap video, not a reality show. It's going to be a long season. I'll be honest, it was hard to keep up with all the drama, but I think it's going to be eventful…and I think we saw it all on L&HHA with just a different cast of characters.
As the episode starts, we're introduced to Tahiry Jose who claims to be a video vixen, model, and actress. Right now, she's also a waitress. However, even she knows that she's most famous for being Joe Budden's ex-girlfriend. She left their five year relationship because Joe wasn't handling his business properly. Joe loves being in the public eye, and he gained quite a following when he would post videos of Tahiry on You Tube. He misses Tahiry and hopes that the two can work on developing a strong friendship. The pair is meeting for lunch, and two things are evident: he likes riling her up, and Tahiry isn't a fan of Joe's shenanigans. Tahiry wonders why Joe so desperately needs to be friends with her…can't he share all his life stories with his new lady? Joe just wants to keep Tahiry on a string for when he needs her. The lunch ends with Tahiry screaming at him and shoving the table so hard that her sangria topples. I have to hand it to that one extra playing the role of restaurant patron number two had the acting sense to appear shocked at the couple's tirade while all the other extras just ate their free lunches and pretended like nothing was happening.
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Erica Mena is back, and she's been upgraded to a cast regular, and she is now being managed by Rich Dollaz. He's booked her a Maxim photoshoot. Rich has slimmed down, and he's lost his puppy dog demeanor. He's more than Erica's manager though, he's also her boyfriend. You go, Rich!
Yandy Smith is thrilled to no longer be managing Jim Jones, and she and her boyfriend Mendeecees are now living together and awaiting the arrival of their first child together. Mendeecees is from the projects, but he's taken his opportunities with music to make a name for himself and change his life. He and Yandy are having a rockin' hip hop themed baby shower, but Mendeecees wants to head out to a white party instead of helping to get all of their gifts back home.
Raqi Thunda is another new girl who is a television and radio personality. She also gets the skinny on all the hip hop gossip. Raqi is Joe's best friend, and she denies any rumors that the pair has ever done the dirty. Joe is filling in Raqi on Tahiry's restaurant tantrum. He thinks she got so emotional because he was the one who got away. Raqi can't believe that Tahiry still cares when her relationship with Joe has been over four years. Four years? Time to build a bridge, girlfriend. Raqi reveals that she and Tahiry used to be friends, but Tahiry has been ignoring her calls and texts lately. The timeline of this trio's relationship seems a bit off to me. Okay, not a bit…a lot!
Olivia Longott is working on a new album, and she's still be managed by Rich. However, she isn't keen on the rumors she's been hearing about Rich and Erica. Okay, Rich does seem to bring back the puppy dog eyes along Olivia. Rich assures her that his relationship with Erica isn't that serious, and he'll never let his personal life interfere with his management of Olivia. I know they are just good friends, but I wouldn't hate to see Olivia and Rich end up together. Olivia tells Rich that she'll happily be cordial to Erica is they are dating, but she wants to be kept in the loop.
Tahiry goes to seek the advice of her firend Rashidah Ali. I can't get over Rashidah's hair to pay attention to what she's saying. She owns a event planning company, and she's a "shoe consultant to the stars"…whatever that means! Rashidah wishes that her friend would get over Joe already. She knows that Tahiry is a strong woman, but Joe knows how to play with her mind. Wow, there must be some kind of formula to this craziness…I feel like I'm watching Atlanta but with less subtitles and (thankfully!) no Steebie. Rashidah has some sound advice for her friend, but unfortunately, in relationships like this, she won't go anywhere until she's ready.
After being ignored by Tahiry, Joe decides to pop in on the restaurant where she is waiting tables. He is very manipulative, and they have hinted at the fact he may be a little up and down. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all scripted for their story line. Tahiry is in tears over the fact that half of her wants to forget about Joe for good, but the other half won't allow it. Joe hates to see her cry over him because he does still love her. He tells her they can take their friendship slowly, and if it doesn't work out, they can go their separate ways. Tahiry is hesitant but then all smiles when he invites her to his birthday party. She is treading in some dangerous waters.
Buy Buy Baby has thrown up all over Yandy and Mendeecees' apartment, but he's too busy playing video games to help her sort through their shower gifts. Mendeecees answer to the situation is to move into a bigger place. What's the point in sorting through all the gifts if they don't have room for them anyway? I should mention that the baby is due in a week. IN A WEEK! And he wants to move beforehand! Go back to your video games and stop with your stupid suggestions.
Raqi has finally convinced Tahiry to meet her for a drink so they can hash out their issues…even though she isn't sure what those issues are. It seems that Tahiry didn't like the amount of time Raqi was spending with Joe working on a radio show, so she decided to write off Raqi altogether. Raqi understands where she's coming from even though Raqi called her about said morning show and asked whether she'd be okay with them being around each other so frequently. Tahiry also admits to telling people that Raqi and Joe were sleeping together during this time. Raqi reminds Tahiry that she how badly Joe treated her…why would she want to get involved with someone who acted so poorly? Oh the green monster of jealousy!
Olivia is meeting with Rich and Erica to make sure none of their relationship drama affects her career when things inevitably get messy. Rich has given Olivia permission to mention that he likes playing the field, but Olivia knows how bat shiz Erica can be when someone does her wrong. Olivia questions Erica about the seriousness of her relationship with Rich. Erica looks to Rich for approval, but Olivia tells her that she wants to hear only from Erica. Erica coyly admits that they are together, and Olivia notices she's rocking a new "R" tattoo on her thumb. I think Rich may pass out at this revelation! Olivia shoots straight about her concerns, and Erica is put off by the fact that Rich didn't tell his best friend that they were an item. Rich doesn't like being in the hot seat, and he's very defensive causing Erica hit the road. Olivia encourages Rich to go after her.
Yandy and Mendeecees bring their precious newborn home from the hospital. Amir Harris could not be any cuter! Of course, VH1 only gives us mere seconds of the wonderful little boy before heading back to the drama of Joe, Tahiry and Raqi. Joe is hosting a pool party at his house for his birthday. He can't wait to see they new jealous dynamic between Raqi and Tahiry play out in front of his own eyes. Raqi reminds him that Tahiry still thinks they are sleeping together, when lo and behold, Tahiry arrives with her friend Winter for back-up. Joe proposes a game of truth-or-truth. Raqi goes off on Tahiry about being a liar, and pretty soon the girls are being held back from one another. After calming Tahiry, Joe manages to do some sort of Dr. Phil voodoo and get the women to sit back down for the game. Joe isn't vibing on Raqi's seemingly jealous side…he's never seen it before and now he can't blame Tahiry for wondering if they had sex. Joe asks Tahiry how long after they broke up did it take her to blank on blank's blank and then blank. She laughs and replies two months. Seriously? Tahiry then asks Joe if he's ever been intimate with Raqi…at least she can pose a question without having every other word bleeped. Joe says no, but then Raqi starts antagonizing Tahiry again. She really is acting like a jealous girlfriend. Because this wouldn't be a VH1 show if no drinks are tossed, Tahiry throws her water onto Raqi and a brawl ensues. Joe promptly kicks Raqi out of the party, and she's devastated he could treat her so badly. Um, what was she telling Tahiry when they met for drinks? Oh, right…
This season, Erica and Rich's relationship gets heated…and not in a good way. Mendeecees and Yandy talk marriage before he tries to kill a trainer at Yandy's gym over pictures of her business. A lady we've yet to meet is upset that her man refuses to recognize any of her religion when she has immersed herself in his, and sweet baby Amir needs serious surgery. Because every L&HH franchise needs a matriarch, we're gifted with Joe's mom, and there is more drama with both the Raqi/Tahiry/Joe and the Olivia/Erica/Rich triangles. Whoa.
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[Photo Credits: VH1]