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During her high school days, boys called Megan a “stallion.” At first, she worried it was an insult. But when her uncle explained it to her — “that means you tall and fine,” he told the 5’10” Houston native — she decided to own it. “Oh yeah, that is me!” she told her CheatSheet interviewer, and “since then, everybody’s just been calling me ‘stallion.’” Of course Megan Thee Stallion’s famous confidence isn’t reserved for her appearance. Her meteoric rise is a product of that same strong personality. More than anything though, Megan’s strength and boldness shine when she raps, always without an ounce of doubt in her voice. Her latest work showcases exactly that bravado. At the chilly beginning of spring, Megan gave her quarantined listeners a taste of hot girl summer with the release of her newest EP, “Suga.”
“Suga” is a statement about who Megan is, and while it appears similar in lyrical content to her previous works, she offers fresher takes on the badass she’s always been. “Ain’t Equal” kicks off the EP both vulnerable and strong as Megan raps, “I lost my mommy and my granny in the same month.” She juxtaposes the darker content with a pointed beat and a fast paced flow that signals to listeners that she is unafraid to confront the obstacles that come her way. Megan targets her haters and makes sure they understand who they’re dealing with. “Ain’t Equal” comes across as powerful and unstoppable.
In a similar vein, “Savage” describes Megan as a sexual woman who towers over men and women alike, highlighting her strengths with its bouncy flow and badass lyrics. Megan punctuates each descriptive word with a laid back sense of control, leisurely rapping while simultaneously staying on top of the beat. Megan pairs this flow with her signature confident lyrics like “Let’s play a game, Simon says I’m still that bitch, ayy,” keeping her disses and braggadocious claims short, simple, and rhythmic. She clearly states who’s boss; in one of the hardest lines of the entire EP, she refers to the man she plays around with as trash. “Bitch, that’s my trash, you the maid, so you bagged him,” she raps. She’s scathing, smug, and irresistable.
New perspectives emerge in softer songs that hint at a more emotional Megan. “Hit My Phone” uses a g-funk beat reminiscent of older hip-hop songs. It also features Kehlani, who brings a more melodic and delicate undertone to the song, and lyrically creates a compelling story about Megan and a man she has her eyes on. The song fades out at the end, generating a nostalgic feel that emphasizes the emotions of the singers. On the other hand, “Crying in the Car” has Megan singing “All of them nights that I cried in the car / All them tears turned into ice on my arms” in autotune, with background vocals and a plea to God in the chorus grounding her content in real, human emotion.
Despite the more vulnerable approaches in her songs, Megan is at her best when she is in charge. In “B.I.T.C.H.,” she is in charge lyrically. “I ain’t turn into no bad bitch when you met me, boy I been that / You tryna make me something that I ain’t, and I ain’t with that,” she raps. Throughout the song, Megan scoffs at the assumption that she needs a man.
Another highlight of the track is “Stop Playing” featuring Gunna, whose words drip with ease and swagger. Megan not only complements Gunna’s style with a heavy-sounding, deep voice — she occasionally dips lower than Gunna’s raps, and subtly shows who’s wearing the pants.
Throughout “Suga,” Megan both embraces and innovates on rap tropes. She may be known for her explicit lyrics, or lines that she’s “all about money,” but her music goes deeper than brags. Rather, when she sings about sexual liberation while leading an all-women team of backup dancers, as in the video for “B.I.T.C.H.,” she uses rap posturing to invert the role of women in pop culture from object to in-charge. Through Megan Thee Stallion’s videos and music music, sexuality is not weaponized against women — rather, “me and my friends,” as she describes her dancers, are taking control on their own terms.
— Staff writer Vivien L. Tran can be reached at email@example.com.
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