Artist Spotlight is a series whose basic aim is to highlight promising and interesting up-and-coming recording artists. From relative newcomers to underrated veterans, from mainstream to underground, we simply want to shine a light on talented musicians that are making great music.
Megan Thee Stallion (real name Megan Pete)
a.k.a. Tina Snow
a.k.a. Hot Girl Meg
If you haven’t been paying close attention, the up-and-coming Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion has been one of the most talked about new school rappers of past few months. We’ve covered the rapper, born Megan Pete, a couple times on this site, including an appearance on the first installment of our Women in Hip-Hop series last Fall; however, given her seemingly astronomical ascension in just a matter of a few months, we figured we would give the Houston rapper a proper spotlight.
The 24-year-old rapper has been acquainted with hip-hop for virtually her entire life; her late mother Holly Thomas (R.I.P.), who herself was a gangsta rapper with the alias Holly-Wood, introduced her daughter Megan to the wonderful world of rap. In an interview with Vulture, Megan described her mother’s influence, stating that “Holly-Wood is the first female rapper I’ve ever known.”
Megan claims she’s known since the age of 7 that rapping is what she’s wanted to do, and she began writing her own raps at the age of 14 when her mother would take her to the studio. She would even steal her mother’s instrumental CDs and write lyrics inspired by her rap heroes, The Notorious B.I.G. and Pimp C. “I wanted to rap like them,” she said.
Keeping her artistic ambition under wraps (no pun intended), it wasn’t until Megan’s freshman year at Prairie View A&M University that found herself embracing her aspiration and taking major steps to fulfilling that dream. Her name began circulating around campus after showing off her rapping skills at parties and kickbacks; one particular freestyle resulted in a Youtube video that went viral on campus. A couple of years later, Megan participated in The Houston Cypher, and her viral performance launched her up onto another level in her fledgling career.
This served as the jumping-off point of Megan Thee Stallion’s career, as she began hitting the studio for real. She released her first mixtape in 2016 and her first EP, Make It Hot, in 2017. That same year, she dropped “Stalli Freestyle,” which served as another viral moment in a budding collection and is currently still one of her most popular videos.
In 2018, Megan Thee Stallion released the EP Tina Snow, in which she took on persona of the titular alter ego, which was inspired by her idol Pimp C’s alternate pseudonym Tony Snow. The project spawned big hits, like “Freak Nasty,” “Tina Montana,” and, most impressively, “Big Ole Freak,” which climbed as high as #65 on the Billboard Hot 100.
She continued to shine in 2018, as she landed her first major record label deal with Lyor Cohen’s 300 Entertainment imprint; and not long after that, she landed her first major guest spot on rapper Wale’s single “Poledancer.
In the midst of her ascent, Megan Pete remains a student at PVAMU. She is studying health administration, with dreams of eventually opening up assisted-living facilities for Black communities.
Why You Should Know Her:
To say that Megan Thee Stallion is one of the most exciting new talents in hip-hop would still be a bit of an understatement; the hype for her is absolutely real, and, depending on what she delivers on her debut album this Friday, we could be witnessing Thee Stallion’s Nicki Minaj-like ascension into the upper echelon of mainstream hip-hop.
If you’re looking for intriguing, skilled artists from the newer rap generation, then look no further than Megan Thee Stallion. Like we wrote in our review of the Tina Snow EP, she is the living embodiment of that “talkin’ shit” attitude that permeates some of hip-hop’s most beloved bodies of work. Throughout her sex-positive, body-positive, ultra-raunchy raps, her attitude is infectious and her confidence is almost palpable.
As a part of her schtick, Megan creatively turns hip-hop’s stereotypical hyper-masculinity on its head (effectively placing women in positions of power), as her lyrics frequently detail sexual dominance over men male subjugation. In an interview with The Fader in 2018, she explained of her suggestive lyrics, “I really feel like if men can talk this much shit, women can too.” She pulls it off as convincingly as an artist like Trina, and with the charm of an artist like Biggie.
And with genuine talent in the mainstream not being at a premium these days, Megan and artists like her are certainly worth following. Megan Thee Stallion is bringing the heat in multiple facets — bars, flows, melody, and looks, as she herself pointed out in an interview with Vulture Magazine — because she understands the unfortunate biases of the music industry and that there are, sadly, different expectations for women than there are for men.
“Women have to be the best and then some,” she said. “A man can get on a track and literally make two noises and be the GOAT. When you listen to a girl rap, she gotta have all the bars, all the flows, be melodic, she gotta look good. They expect so much of us, and I mean, I like to work, so I’ll do it.”
With cool confidence and charisma for days, impressive freestyles and radio appearances, and a solid (albeit limited) discography, Megan has proven, at least up to this point, that she is most certainly up to the challenge.
Songs to Get You Started:
“Like A Stallion”
“Last Week in HTX”