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Gotti’s Way vs. The Salt N Pepa Show

Since Flava Flav brought hip-hop personality to VH1 in 2004, the adult contemporary video network-turned-reality TV haven has cultivated an ensemble cast of rappers throughout the seasons of the Surreal Life and Celebrity Fit Club. Now, forgoing the staged competition route, VH1 has created two straight-forward docu-dramas about the lives of hip-hop celebrities. Both are centered around an uphill battle—Can rap pioneers Salt N Pepa put their differences aside after all these years in The Salt N Pepa Show? Can Irv Gotti rebuild his Murder Inc. empire and maneuver his complicated family life on Gotti’s Way? After both shows premiered last night (October 15), the pressure is on.

Salt N Pepa, which kicked off the Tuesday night lineup, begins after the ladies get an invitation by Shaq to perform a song at his birthday party. Salt and Pepa speak occasionally, but haven’t performed together since their breakup in the ’90s. The tension here is clear: Salt found God and settled down, Pepa is still…well, Pepa. After a struggle that consists mostly of Salt trying to get Pepa to tone down their act (Pepa’s only insistence: change the “Whatta Man” lyric from “A body like Arnold” to “A body like Barak”), they finally end up performing at Salt’s church instead of Shaq’s party (he canceled, apparently). Oh, and they change all the lyrics of “Whatta Man” to be about Jesus.

The good girl vs. bad girl dynamic they try to set up throughout the show seems like it should be good TV, but ultimately, it feels forced. While Salt has the righteous thing down pat, Pepa isn’t quite the wild child Salt (or the producers) makes her out to be. But overall, the reunion feels forced because neither of them seems to want to be there very much. Salt doesn’t seem to enjoy rapping at all anymore, and Pepa seems like shes just along for the ride. After watching the pilot, one can’t help but think: if there were no cameras, would either Salt or Pepa still be pushing this reunion? Probably not.

On the other hand, Irv Gotti’s series Gotti’s Way benefits from the record executive’s unbridled enthusiasm and unapologetically exposed personal life. Gotti seems completely focused on trying to bring back Murder Inc., and Ja Rule is the centerpiece of his plan. The premiere episode is entitled “Get A Hit,” which is also the advice that Russell Simmons gives Irv at an inspirational lunch meeting. Gotti spends a lot of time meeting with Ja at the studio, lecturing him about the importance of finding that one hit song. In one of the best scenes, Irv argues with Ja about why it’s not smart for him to just start leaking music to the people. Ja’s candid defense: “Everybody’s doing it!”

Whether or not you’re a fan of the music, the heart of Gotti’s show lies in his unexpectedly nuanced relationship with his semi-estranged wife Deb (they live separately, talk about being “friends,” yet they are still technically married). Clearly they’re committed to each other on some level, especially because of their two children, but Irv seems unable to not cheat on her. “I sleep mostly on the couch,” says Irv at one point. “I don’t sleep with Deb because that’s weird.” While Salt N Pepa seems destined for a season full of predictable, camera-ready tensions, Gotti’s Way—with Irv at a truly uncertain point in his career and life—could be one of the network’s most compelling series.

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  • bizzle

    Both shows suck and irv gotti is a fat fuck

  • DMAC

    y do ppl keep sayin murder inc its jus INC.dere took da murder out of inc coz it werent tru

  • State your Bizz

    Both shows are cool. It’s intersting to how people’s lives change within the industry. I’m feeling Irv’s show cause it goes into the ups and downs and demands of the music business. Plus its shows how family is affeceted. Gotta respect Irv’s love for what he does. Built a company from the ground up. This

  • va . . .stand up

    EUUUGH. Look at Pepper’s nose!! She looks like all the Jacksons and Lil Kim!! Not a good look.

  • whateva man

    i agree both shows suck but it think salt n pepa joint will pop off cuz the women will be watching…my wife couldnt wait to see this show…gotti joint is REALLY WACK…no one needs to know what goes on his family to be a fan…but him spazzin is something to look out for tho…JA needs to wake up and get back with ASHANTI for them luvy dubey songs REALLY…1

  • Tony

    Irv Gotti show looks like a sick season, its pretty pathetic when you have people named bizzle, who can not get off g-units dick.

  • Worley

    Salt is corny as hell with that singing about Jesus stuff. People always find Jesus when there ain’t nothing else going on. Make the show about Pepa alone.

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  • ri067953

    Yo, seen both shows. the SNP show was awful. Saw the Gotti show and all I gotta say is he better be careful. The show makes it seem like his girl is a real gold digger and is only with him for his dough. Looks like Gotti is playing himself by supporting that trick.

  • Reemycks!

    As much as I used to love Salt’s sexy ass I have to admit that she is a big ass cornball. As far as Gotti, his show is better but the dynamic between him and Ja is like watching a car crash. Them niggas are goofy.

  • G!

    Gotti’s show was str8, I missed salt n Peppas joint though. The way VH1 be replayin’ shows, it’s probably on while you’re reading this!

    http://www.myspace.com/gmanfantastic

  • merk

    Salt n Pepa’s show was succeed.

    Irv Gotti’s show will fail.

    Both shows were shitty, but females will want to watch & gossip about Salt n Pepa.

  • http://www.freshfeature.com F.

    * Actually DMAC, now that his legal woes are over, Mr. Gotti has renamed the label back to Murder Inc, and refers to it in the show several times as Murder Inc.
    http://www.freshfeature.com

  • be-eazy

    Watched both last night on the re-run episodes… To be honest, Salt N Pepa’s show seems to be really generic and predictable. It’s almost as if it were forced show. Kinda like they were not acting thier true-selves with the cameras around. Overall, the show did not impress me one bit. Okkkkay! The Gotti show… This has controversy written all over it. I like the concept and it doesn’t seem like Irv nor the other people on the show payed attention to the cameras. You can tell… that is what makes good reality T.V. Act yourself… To be open enough to let fans into his life involving his Estranged (friend-only) Wife, Kids, His Company, etc… Thats whats up… I foresee this show as a success and possibly gunnin for a new 2nd season. Even tho i don’t particular care for Murder Inc (until they find some new talent) or Ja (only his 1st album was the hardest and the best)… The show will definately draw an audience…

  • Ghost Deini

    If there is anybody I hate worse than Ja Rule, it’s Irv Gotti. Remeber Ja would put out those PUSSY songs, and you’d see Irv in everyone with a big mean mug. Yeah, you’re real thugged buddy in this pussy ass ja rule video. I wish Saigon would slap this shit outta both these pussies.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com noid

    SALT AND PEPA I DONT CARE MUCH ABOUT BECAUSE THEY WERE A LITTLE BEFORE MY TIME.

    IRV IS CORNIER THEN A CORNFIELD.HE ACTUALLY THINKS THAT THEY’RE GONNA MAKE A COMEBACK AFTER MR.I RUN NEW YORK?ITS PRETTY FUCKIN SAD THAT HE REALLY THINKS SO.

  • Mr.Defrosted
  • Dee Dee Dee

    All I have to say about the Irv Gotti Show is the following:

    I never thought VH1 would actually air a show that’s worse than Hogan Knows Best. Well, they did just that now.

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