Specifically, a black Bieber. Those poignant jail scenes in episode two? How did the idea to parody Justin Bieber start? We had a lot of ideas that we talked about before we were even picked up for a show, back when the pilot was done and we were just talking about ideas for potential episodes.
Black Justin Bieber was just a good idea for that. I feel like this episode is kind of like that. What was the thought process behind making him racebent?
When we had the idea, we thought about how to do this because there were a lot of different ways it could go. At one point, he was gonna be a light-skinned guy with blonde hair. But then we thought, No, he should look nothing like Justin Bieber. He should be just a regular black guy. This was a chance for this to happen.
Time to cast Idris Elba! Were you involved in casting Austin Crute in the role? This makes sense to you guys, right? But the kid who ended up being Bieber is a guy Donald really liked. They think we were hiding him in the episode. I initially thought it was the white guy behind Crute who the journalist was calling out as Bieber. It means a lot of different things. I took it as a parody of both his behavior — he really did pee backstage! Just making him black [subverts] it all.
A lot of people were. But they never tried to stop you once they figured out the premise? But that script definitely got looked over. Just so they could have their input and everybody could feel out the best way to make it good. Did you also write the parody song that Donald performs at the end? Actually Donald did that one. It was kind of like a real Donald song. That beat is from a friend of mine who produces a lot of my stuff, and it was kind of the same process that I use for my own music.
It reminded me of old Jeezy. Not only is Atlanta your first writers room, but you also wrote the bulk of the first half of the season. How has that experience been for you? My boss is my brother, in a way; we can talk on a regular level. It was always a super-relaxed vibe, but the focus was, we gotta make something great that we would wanna watch. But at least we got to do some crazy stuff! We understood that humor off the bat, so it was a good idea for me to write those episodes.
I still feel like we can do things better. Have you already started brainstorming for season two? For the first season — even the Justin Bieber episode — those ideas really did come from us just joking around. The way we talk about ideas is super-organic. This interview has been edited and condensed.