I just learned what The Streisand Effect was today. “The phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. That being said, who’s your least favorite social media personality airing out your favorite rapper’s business on your Instagram timeline? A lotta names come to mind, right? Episode 4 of Donald Glover’s Atlanta manages to bring the show’s trademark nuance to the character of Zan, the Instagram hypebeast troll who gets on Earn and Alfred’s bad sides after a set at a hole-in-the-wall club. After being dusted by the duo, Zan takes to the internet with weaponized YouTube reviews and Instagram memes to tarnish Paper Boi’s reputation.
If you’re even tangentially hooked in to the online hip-hop scene, you know someone exactly like this, and Freddie Kuguru fleshes him out as the smartest douchebag you don’t wanna be around. While Alfred indulges his Twitter fingers, Earn (still college broke) and Darius head to the pawn shop so Earn can get some money for Vanessa and their daughter. Pawning a cell phone has never been so time-consuming.
The show is still on a roll, so check out some of our favorite moments from “The Streisand Effect.”
1. “When Your Bae Scrolls Through The DMs”
Zan shows up shortly into this first episode, branded beanies in tow. Earn and Paper Boi are already not feeling him, so he tries to break the ice with some memes. “Does that meme depict what happens to you or to bae when you’re scrolling through the DMs?,” Earn asks, stone-faced. Didn’t make sense to me, either. “Whatever, I got those likes,” Zan says proudly before taking off on his hoverboard.
2. Twitter Fingers is watching
Not even a day later, Zan starts tearing Alfred down on Twitter. We’ve all had that expressionless face during Twitter beef; don’t lie to yourself. Zan’s shenanigans head from Twitter to Instagram while Alfred’s at the gas station and his fingers are only getting itchier.
3. “Black people don’t know who Steve McQueen is”
During a talk about AIDS on their way to the pawn shop, Darius brings up actor Steve McQueen, who Earn knows nothing about. “Most Black people don’t know who Steve McQueen is,” Darius says, asserting that he’s Nigerian, so of course he knows(?) After they pawn Earn’s phone off for a katana, he asks the cashier if he knows who Steve McQueen is: “Black people don’t know who Steve McQueen is. I keep that there for protection. If some dude comes in here asking about that poster, I know he’s tryna get me to turn around so he can rob me.” Awkward doesn’t do this exchange justice.
4. “Money, bruh”
After Alfred gets a tip about Zan’s job as a pizza delivery boy, he heads over to Cameli’s Pizza in an attempt to scare him. Nothing phases bloggers, since he’s just ready to bring him on a ride with a kid in the back seat. Alfred demands he stop, since social media’s been eating him alive, but Zan defends both of their rights to hustle: “You’re exploiting your situation to make rap, and I’m exploiting you exploiting that. Money, bruh,” he says before filming Bankroll PJ getting robbed while delivering his pizza for him. That twisted perspective is what feeds lots of “tastemakers” out here. Don’t you DARE get caught up out there.
5. “Poor people don’t have time for investments”
A katana sends Earn and Darius on a wild goose chase through lowkey operations. After trading the katana for a pit corso (and some faux-woke/racist words about Chinese people from Darius) and taking that pit corso to a breeder, Darius reveals to Earn that they wouldn’t be seeing the money from that investment until September. “I’m poor, and poor people don’t have time for investments,” a frustrated Earn explains. “I need to eat today, not in September.” Darius is quick to remind him that he could’ve traded the phone for instant money if he needed it before giving him his phone to scrap for cash.
– Has Alfred worked on any music since dropping the first single? He’s gonna need some more heat if Zan’s Instagram trolling is really getting to him that bad.
– WHY DID ALFRED HOP OUTTA THE CAR AFTER THAT KID GOT ROBBED?
Come through next week for another Atlanta recap. Also, check out our brand new Spotify playlist with every song heard on the show so far, which we’ll be updating weekly. This week, Keith Ape’s “It G Ma” and Michael Kiwanuka’s “Home Again” got excellent needle drop music cues.