First of all, she’s from Houston.
But I did not have to tell you that. Megan Thee Stallion’s music passionately speaks for itself. With barreling bass lines, winding synths, and syrupy melodies, her latest project, Tina Snow, would make Pimp C—that’s her favorite rapper, which I didn’t have to tell you, either—proud. And as the newly-appointed First Lady of 300 Entertainment, Megan is one of the most confident on the mic currently working.
Megan’s fans, affectionately called “The Hotties,” go up for her at every turn. Her mother supports her undoubtedly (“She is really proud. She’s still hard on me, like any other mama. She’s just real crunk.”). Her shows are turnt out. Her music bangs with that something special, that something transitive that takes the commanding aura Megan so claims and puts it directly in the palm of our hands. All of this is to say, Megan Thee Stallion is a rising star and a dream of an artist. The good news: she’s been this dedicated since the jump.
“I think I probably wrote my first song when I was seven,” she recalls. Currently 23, this means that Megan has been in love with the game for nearly two decades. “You know when you growin’ up, going to school, nobody tells you that being a rapper or being an artist is a career to go after. Everyone tells you: ‘Oh, be a doctor, be a lawyer.’ Things like that. When I got old enough to realize this was something that I could do for my career, I was super excited, because I was like, ‘Wow! You can make money off something that you really love. That’s crazy!’ Putting out music and seeing people loving it, it just blows my mind every time. I was just rapping, silently going hard and nobody knows. I didn’t know how people gon’ take me, but everybody I’ve come across is really loving it.”
In tandem, Megan Thee Stallion also happens to be getting a degree in health administration. Impressive isn’t the word. The assumption, of course, is that once an artist signs a record contract they step away from their external obligations and pursue music with all they have. Not Megan. She can do both. In fact, she must.
“For anybody who’s in college, once you start and you already start spending money with it, and you already put all this time into your education, I don’t feel like it’s necessary to give up because you already dedicated so much to it,” Megan explains. “You might as well go ahead and see it all the way through. You started something and you worked so hard at it, and you just give up in the middle? That’s not something that I would do. It’s not something that I believe in. Once I start a project or I start working on something, I see it through.”
Her dedication and fervor may be forever elements of her character, but her forceful appearance took some time to develop. Though her music does not suggest it, Megan Thee Stallion used to be shy about her talents. Beyond outlandish in this current burgeoning epoch of her career, she admits that holding back until college was something of a regret.
“I wish I would’ve told somebody that I could rap earlier,” she admits. “Maybe senior year of high school, I would’ve started rapping then. I would’ve just told myself: ‘Don’t be so shy. Let people know you go hard. Go 'head, get out there.’”
“You know that’s crazy? I wasn’t even a shy person, I was just shy to let people hear that I could rap. It was something I had never publicly did before. I don’t even know why I was being like that about it. You know when you trying something new and you don’t wanna let people know about it until you’re, like, perfect at it? Once I got in college and I got away from my high school and I was around a whole new group of people, it was like, ‘They don’t know me,’ and boom, that’s when it all started when I went to college.” —Megan Thee Stallion
It’s evident that Megan is a perfectionist at heart while remaining well-meaning in her approach all the same. “Don’t hide anything that you’re talented at,” she urges. “Definitely go for it, because you don’t wanna live your whole life regretting that you didn’t do what you love to do in the first place.”
At some point during our conversation, I realize that Megan has more gifts than rapping: she is effortlessly inspirational. Down-to-earth and full of truisms that work their way into the music through the lens of pimping and swagger, Megan Thee Stallion likely has a motivational speaker career on her hands if this rapping thing doesn’t work out. But don’t worry, it will.
Bubbly over the phone, radiating the same confidence and swagger that makes her music stick, Megan makes sure to move with humility. She is work-oriented in every avenue of her life, a major lesson she learned while trying to balance being a popping rapper and a serious college student.
“Oh my gosh!” she jeers. “At first, I didn’t think it was going to be hard, because at first I didn’t have a lot of bookings and I wasn’t moving around and things like that. The more and more that I grew, I’m going out of town a lot. I’m signed now so I’m back and forth between the states. I’m like, ‘Dang! I’m sorry, I can’t come to school today.’ My teachers, sometimes they’re understanding, sometimes they’re not, so I try to get all my work done beforehand. I’m not saying I’m the perfect student [laughs], but I’m trying real hard.”
Her dedication to her schooling is admirable, but more admirable is her dedication to Houston. Tina Snow opens with Megan decidedly claiming her city, putting the new era of the Houston sound on her shoulders. “I definitely feel like I have the city on my back,” she tells me. But there’s no pressure for Megan. She welcomes the weight and wants to carry the torch. “I want people to know that Houston is not one sound. We have a whole new era, a whole new group of artists coming out. We have a whole new sound. It’s definitely still Houston, but new Houston. I definitely want people to know we got a sound coming out of here, and I feel like I’m leading the way.”
Of all things, Tina Snow sounds like a light. Not only is she leading the way for Houston, but she is also breaking down barriers for women in hip-hop. Owning her sexuality to the point of turning her sex talk into perfect punchlines, her music inspires women and men alike (“I want people to feel confident. I want girls to feel confident. Boys, too. Boys listen to my music, too.”). Better yet, Megan’s energy exceeds the tired critic term of infectious. Megan Thee Stallion is no infectious earworm. It’s deeper than that. Tina Snow is a secretly enduring album, much like Megan kept her rapping a secret until college. Amped up on the surface, when you get into the workings of the production and the care put into the track listing, we discover that Megan is nothing if not a refined method actor.
“My alter egos, I feel like I get to hone in on certain parts of my personality,” she says. “Tina Snow is definitely the pimp, money-making machine. The whole swag about me. Fever is gonna be my other persona, Hot Girl Meg. Party girl, turn-up queen. The whole vibe of this mixtape is gonna be different from Tina Snow, and I’m so excited for people to hear it.”
As we patiently wait for Fever, her debut album on 300, we have to wonder, what else is Megan after? Apparently, an award. The dream award, of course, is Best New Artist from either MTV, or BET, or any other platform ready to acknowledge that her music has a seismic pull. For now, Megan is grinding and building up one of the best fan bases in hip-hop. The Hotties ride for Megan, and they pay attention to every detail, down to Megan’s favorite cookie flavor.
“I went to one of my shows and my favorite thing is chocolate chip cookies, right?” she recalls. “I don’t really think that people be paying attention to what I’m saying, so one of my fans brought me some chocolate [chip] cookies and he brought me some shirts with my lyrics on the front! I was like, ‘Oh, my God! This is so cute!’ He let me pour shots in his mouth; every time my fans let me pour shots in their mouth it just makes me feel good. Everybody just loves having a good time, and I love that.”
Her ability to reach men and women in such a wilfully bifurcated industry is as admirable as the rest of her story, and with 300 Entertainment behind her, Megan only wants to widen her reach. The label was persistent, which played a major role in her signing, but also was based in New York, which to this day is the cosign rappers from other regions look for as a moniker of making it. Let’s not forget Organized Noize telling TIDAL the importance of New York rocking with them during the making of Aquemini. The sentiment, 20 years later, still holds water for Megan Thee Stallion.
“Just coming out of Houston and getting signed to something that is in New York, that’s a big deal for me, and a big deal for a female artist,” Megan concludes. “I feel like New York is very serious about hip-hop. For me, to be that well-received in New York, that definitely is breaking a barrier for somebody in the South. I just wanna keep on growing and show people that there’s a lot of talented female rappers out here. I just wanna become a household name.”