Megan Thee Stallion
[300 Entertainment; 2019]
We need to first give props to Three 6 Mafia. The type of club anthems so evident on Megan Thee Stallion’s Fever seem to come straight from the Memphis institution, the album acting like a monument to the unhinged 4 AM music solidified in Southern black culture. But she doesn’t merely ape Crunchy Black, Juicy J, and co (Juicy cameo notwithstanding). Rather, there’s an unhinged power in Megan’s forceful rapping about feminine authority, and it’s in part what makes Fever so enthralling.
But Fever’s success also hinges more simply on its chaotic energy. Browsing social media, “the summer of Megan” is held up as a standard to which artists can aspire: unconcerned toward the vapidity of others’ feelings, consistently wildin’ out, and bringing out the id through bangers perfectly suited for the warm weather. Even for homebodies, Megan imbues spaces with a sense of grandeur while capturing the essence of Houston rap through brute force, with a faux-blaxploitation cover to top it off.
Rap is an extrovert’s game, but the dynamism that Megan possesses is nearly unmatched. Her verses are absolutely electrifying, packing the heat she sponged up from her favorites like UGK, Project Pat, and Trina. Sprinkle a little Memphis here, some Miami bass there, and a bit of Houston swagger, and it’s a chemistry experiment gone horribly right. Besides Juicy J’s appearance as the approving forefather passing down the metaphorical torch, the only other guest on Megan’s wild ride is DaBaby. Their song, “Cash Shit,” is downright nasty, showcasing two rising rappers at the top of their game, with Megan giving disapproving sneers verse by verse and DaBaby bringing out his PornHub audition tape. (Their faces say it all.)
Megan Thee Stallion has thrown down the gauntlet with Fever, serving as an introduction to a new breed of down-South conqueror: a confident woman built for Instagram fame but steadfastly disciplined and technically excellent. The daughter of a former rapper, her ascendancy seems like destiny, in a way that even George R.R. Martin would think cliché. She’s on her Derrick Rose MVP season shit, smacking down naysayers with music undeniably accomplished, fully formed, and without blemish. This is the path of Megan Thee Stallion: destroyer of worlds, holder of the crown.