The Reign of Megan Thee Stallion
Written by Dorothy Zhao
Hot Girl Season reaches a fever pitch as this Houston rapper takes the world by storm.
Megan Thee Stallion is one of a kind. She reigns supreme in her empowerment of women, whether she does it intentionally or not. In early December of last year, her Tiny Desk Concert, a video series of live concerts hosted by NPR Music, had a live audience as she performed with the band Phony Ppl. This intimate concert debut was what initially drew me in to listening to the artist and wanting to learn more about her. Megan and Phony Ppl truly seemed to enjoy themselves while connecting to their audience with such charisma. A mere 24 years of age, Megan is a Houston rapper who can pinpoint her success on a viral rap battle clip from 2013. She went on to release the EP “Tina Snow” in 2018 and to be the first woman rapper to sign with record label 300 Entertainment.
While listening to her debut mixtape “Fever,” I was both enthralled and educated. Whether it was becoming educated on her various accomplishments or learning how to be insanely confident, I felt my respect and admiration for Megan Thee Stallion growing. Her rhymes and lyrics paint a different picture for each song. My favorites included “Realer,” “W.A.B.,” “Simon Says (feat. Juicy J),” and “Money Good.” I love a song that is straightforward and clear in its words and intent, just as much as I like an artist who is unapologetically unrivaled. Her music, much like how Megan feels about it personally, is very confident and freeing. When you listen to a Megan Thee Stallion song, you’re dancing in the mirror alone. You’re full of your own good energy, as she describes it. A secondary aspect of her success are the alter egos that range from Tina Snow, Megan Thee Stallion, and Hot Girl Meg. Tina Snow is “the pimp” while Megan Thee Stallion is the “real chill” one. Hot Girl Meg, the one on “Fever,” is the polished party girl who is also the turn-up queen. Just Megan, when she’s plain old Megan, however, is the student, daughter, granddaughter and friend. Of course, Megan Thee Stallion wants her audience to know she is not a character -- what she is doing and rapping is natural to her, simply because she loves herself.
In an interview with VIBE Magazine senior editor Keith Murphy, Megan Thee Stallion recalls being in the recording studio at a young age watching her mother and future manager, Holly-Wood, work on her music. Her mother was the first female rapper she knew. Megan now attends the historically Black college and university, Texas Southern University, for health administration. It was most impressive to me that she even schedules her shows around her Tuesday and Thursday classes -- the combination of school and shows is not something most ordinary people can juggle. Her academic determination shone through when she was tardy in attending the 2019 Billboard Women in Music. Megan Thee Stallion was taking her final, and then in the next few hours, she accepted the Powerhouse Award. She prioritizes both her coursework and her uncensored lyrical intentions, which is something both students and fans can appreciate. She even goes on Blackboard, the same learning management system that Cleveland State University students use. Megan mentions in her interview with Vulture journalist Hunter Harris that she chose to study health administration as a result of her grandmother and great-grandmother experiencing the stress of senior living. To give back to her Houston community, she wants to “put [healthcare] facilities” for especially those in Black households.
The New York Times describes Megan Thee Stallion’s rapping as “words [arriving] like jabs” that are “confident, precise, disorientingly direct.” She captures the attention of her audience with her priority of clear, sparring rhymes. Last summer was a Hot Girl Summer, the catchphrase declared by Megan Thee Stallion after she dropped her debut mixtape “Fever” in May. Being a Hot Girl, as tweeted by the rapper, is about “being unapologetically you, having fun, being confident, living your truth, [and] being the life of the party.” Releasing a song of the same catchphrase title featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign last summer, Megan Thee Stallion has skyrocketed to fame in the past couple years. In 2019, among her many awards, she was named one of AP’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year.
This young artist’s success is not without a bittersweet touch, as her mother and great grandmother passed away in March of 2019. Megan Thee Stallion addressed to her fans in a now-deleted Instagram video about how hard it will be to spend the first Christmas alone without her family members. In this touching message, she concludes to “always try to be kind to others because you never know what they’re going through.” Her mother, as Megan describes her, was a strong woman, tough lady, and more of a “gangster” rapper while Megan herself is more sensual. Holly-Wood was Megan’s number one fan.
Despite Megan Thee Stallion’s songs being less than family friendly and certainly not safe for work, her explicit content serves a purpose -- even she states it was “kind of an accident.” “Big Ole Freak” and “Freak Nasty” are two songs that can be viewed from a different lens other than the perspective of being simply vulgar. Instead, her music is empowering. Her message summarizes how women have been conditioned to be prim and proper while also being held to impossibly high standards. Megan Thee Stallion wants to let loose and not be afraid of what she has to say. She is not a princess. The lyrics of her favorite male rappers are “crazy [and] raw” to her, so a woman should sound just as good when saying similarly raunchy things. A critic describes Megan’s appeal as the magic of feeling like you are “listening to the advice of your most entertaining girlfriend” and being motivated by a close friend to reach a form of success. She describes that she wants to be “as out there as I can be, because I want women to know [that] we don’t have to put any limits on ourselves.” Megan Thee Stallion wants us to know if you want to go hard, go hard.