In 2014, an unknown Megan Thee Stallion tweeted: “I need a team [because] I promise you this rap shit is gone. “
That promise has been delivered in spectacular fashion. The 26-year-old, born Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, is now one of the most famous and respected rap stars in the world, and her three Grammy Awards at last weekend’s ceremony marked the peak of her career thus far.
In addition to winning one of the night’s “big four” awards, becoming the first rapper of this century to win the best new artist award, she is the first woman to win the best rap song category as lead artist. She shared her award with Beyoncé, who had teamed up with Megan on the Savage remix, a practical statement of multifaceted femininity. Meanwhile, Billie Eilish spent much of her winner’s speech trying to give her record of the year award to Megan, repeatedly telling her, “You deserve this.”
That sentiment is shared by a generation of young women who regard Megan as an omnipotent figure. He has earned admiration for his rap flow, laden with tooth-kissing technical mastery in addition to rhythm and ingrained in the energetic club styles of the American South. Her joke-filled lyrics are cleverly self-assured, humiliating men for their sexual failings and dismissing female rivals as “bitches who think they suck when they actually use the toilet water.”
“His cadence on records is phenomenal,” says Tiffany Calver, host of the BBC 1Xtra Rap Show. “The lyricism and puns are amazing, but there is something so present about the way she is on a record, that it hasn’t really been heard from anyone else, consistently, in a long time. You can also take records that have substance, but make them fun, so they can resonate with a wider audience. It’s not something that’s just pop and cotton candy. “
But it is Megan’s self-described “hot girl” image as a strutting monarch that decrees that all women are innately glamorous and sexually attractive, including those ignored by a narrow-minded and often racist mainstream, that she has synthesized. that admiration in adulation.
“You can tell she’s physically confident and sexually liberated,” says British rapper Ms Banks, who has spent time with Megan in the UK. “That’s very relatable, you feel like she’s one of your friends. When women are considered to be sexually free [in music], it is often for a man – in the video of a boy, with a nice car and a girl next to him shaking her butt. But Megan is doing it herself, in her own video. “
Megan began her career in rap while a college student in her native Texas, saying goodbye to a group of male rappers with a freestyle shot on a Houston rooftop in 2013. She chose a sculptural artist name to match her 5ft 10in frame. “I’m tall too,” says Ms. Banks, “and seeing someone like her own her body the way she does, I never had that growing up. It’s epic “.
Groundbreaking tracks like Big Ole Freak and Cocky AF put her in the horny and uncompromising lineage of Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, and also, of course, as her confident male companions. “You can only rap about peace and Kumbaya and you’re supposed to be a lady,” Megan complained in a 2018 interview. “I’m not afraid to say what I want to do. If the boys can do it, we can do it too. “Calver compares his early years to a boxer in the ring,” just constantly punching. Each time his lyricism was above the bar. “
The phrase “hot girl” became a meme that underpins her first US Top 20 hit of 2019, Hot Girl Summer, whose credo was embodied in a tweet from Megan: “Being a hot girl is about being without excuse YOU, have fun, be confident, live YOUR truth, be the life of the party, etc. ”, he explained.
The mantra was further defined in Savage, in which Megan described herself as “classy, bougie, ratchet” – a chorus announcing that she, and therefore all women, could be sophisticated and vulgar at the same time. Same time. It broke the sexist binary of decorum and debauchery in which women are often classified. Banks agrees: “She sheds light on the fact that we can be all of these things in one.”
It was only a matter of time before he worked with Cardi B, the chart-topping New York rapper whose talent, outspokenness, and sexual appetite match hers. His track WAP, an ode to vaginal fluid whose male characters are in constant danger of suffocation or drowning, reached number one in both the United States and the United Kingdom last August. It caused a face-stirring level of moral panic reminiscent of Mary Whitehouse, with conservative experts lining up to denounce this tale of female sexual pleasure.
The outrage continued this week after their rendition of the song at the Grammys, with Candace Owens saying the performance heralded “a weakening of American society … the end of an empire,” and Tucker Carlson accusing the pair of ” intentionally trying to degrade our culture. ” and hurting our children ”.
Ms Banks believes there is a double standard at play with this tall, curvy black woman: “You don’t mind a woman wearing a leotard with her ass out if she’s skinny, but if she’s a bit of a bum, it’s more explicit now. “. . Why? And I feel like there is a racist undertone. “She says that while sexuality is an important part of Megan’s brand, her dance moves are misunderstood by white critics.” At home, all over Africa and the Caribbean, there are aunts of all ages who move the waist and move the waist, and it has nothing to do with sex, it is part of the culture. But on a bigger stage, some people are offended by that. “
Defending Megan’s self-confidence, not to mention her philanthropy and advocacy for higher education, is far more valuable than talk show talk. She was able to withstand a much more serious attack in July 2020 when she was wounded by gunshot shrapnel to the foot, then later accused Tory Lanez, a rapper with five US Top Five albums, of being the shooter. He was charged with assault and pleaded not guilty, with the case still ongoing.
On Instagram she explained that her fear of police brutality made her reluctant to come forward, and then wrote a piece much admired in the New York Times which discussed how misogyny intertwines with racism and applies to black women. Since then he has rapped about the trauma: “At war with myself / in my head, bitch, it’s Baghdad,” read a lyric from his debut album Good News.
By refusing to be intimidated by that incident, Megan demonstrated that her message of strong self-confidence wasn’t just about feeling confident in the bedroom or at the nightclub, it was something that sustained a woman’s life. “It’s the way she owns her body,” Ms Banks reiterates, summing up her appeal. “She is the captain of her ship.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism