What a pleasure to watch Megan Thee Stallion’s well-earned rise in real-time along with the rest of the Internet. What a pleasure to say the Houston Hottie needs little introduction. A crooner, a college student, a beloved daughter, a studied student of the game, and—most of all—a true spitter, Megan’s 300 Entertainment debut project, Fever, feels like a meteoric event.
Buzzing in Texas for a handful of years before finally breaking through on a mainstream level with her 2018 mixtape Tina Snow, named for her hustling alter-ego, Megan’s career has been marked by bars and a fervent fan base that dispels all notions of toxic standom. The Hotties are lovers, and they love Megan.
We also have to take a moment and commend Megan, too. In the face of great tragedy—the recent loss of her mother—she’s still strutting forward with no signs of slowing down. Regardless of how Fever sounds, we know one thing to be permanently true: Megan Thee Stallion is a fighter.
Fever, like Tina Snow, will be led by an alter-ego: Hot Girl Meg. “Fever is gonna be my other persona, Hot Girl Meg. Party girl, turn-up queen,” Meg told us at the top of this year.
I am expecting club anthems and tracks that make me want to drink Cognac. I am expecting ample amounts of bass and bars that will make me melt with excitement. I am expecting to be transported to the Houston, and dance and shimmy my way through Megan Thee Stallion’s home turf. And I am expecting to find joy in this album. Let’s hope we get all that, and more.
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding, and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
Can’t believe I’m going to my first house party.
Midnight on the dot. I set an alarm for this record because Megan has quickly graduated to appointment listening. And we’re starting with an alien-like bounce, creeping keys, and a mic check. The bass! There's terror and power behind this beat, and we’re meeting Megan at the bank. Yes we are. Make all your money, Meg. “Bitch you better learn who run it.” What a feverous entrance. Ah, now her critic tweet makes sense. There’s so much punch to this track, but with a measure of restraint. The depth of Megan’s voice is driving the track as much as the bass line. Excitement is brimming and Megan sounds relentless as she’s spitting. Expert open.
2. “Hood Rat Shit”
“It’s fun to do bad things.” The terror of the first beat is amped. Serious Three 6 energy only for Fever. My headphones are rattling with these minor chords. I love Megan’s "ehhg" ad-lib. There’s so much control to her rapping right now. She’s slipping into a tantalizing double time, but keeping us on the hook with the stomping delivery of the hook. Megan is a natural-born entertainer. “Bitch, keep talking that shit from your Honda.” Actually, I drive a Nissan. This thump is so attractive and pulsating. This song makes me want to get into a fight even though I’m four feet tall. Megan makes me feel like I’d win.
The whispers of Megan’s lineage are selling me on this album as much as Megan herself. The power! The confidence! How to treat Megan’s clit! Again, the way she controls her double time is so impressive. She has the best pacing of any rapper in her class, and beyond. The production here is a touch more approachable than the first two tracks. Not mad at it; I appreciate the tonal variety and the consistent bass. I was worried that Hot Girl Meg would be a bubble gum approach to Megan Thee Stallion, but I should have known that Megan’s parties would sound this hard-hitting. How could she let me down?
4. “Cash Shit” ft. DaBaby
My cat just leapt into my lap. She also loves this album. This is real Hot Girl shit. Her pussy is the kitchen! Megan’s sex bars are so inventive and the deadpan delivery is perfection. “He know he givin’ his money to Megan.” Run your shit, Meg. Her voice here is so clear and directive. And DaBaby has arrived! His sex bars are close to giving Meg a run for her money, but there is only one Thee Stallion. DaBaby’s energy is matching Meg’s: stable and thumping. Nothing about this album is erratic. There’s a methodology to Fever. Not to say it’s low energy, but rather, the album has an incredible dose of control. Megan has us hanging on her every line, and she’s rapping at a rate where we can’t miss a single word. These are puncturing raps.
Oh, the keys! The flurry of terrifying keys and static. Nobody can test Megan. There’s the sounding of alarms. There’s the terror of the opening tracks. Here’s a dose of undeniable fury and energy. Whoever pissed off Megan, thank you, this song sounds fantastic. Angry Megan is Houston’s answer to Rico Nasty. I would love for the two to team up. Weak ass bitches have nothing on Thee Stallion. My gut tells me this will be an early favorite. What a tough hook! Chant-worthy, life-music under the guise of a dark party record. And she’s blistering with these bars! “Keep it cool, but I’m dramatic.” That’s the word, a Gothic drama. Her punk energy is seeping out.
6. “Best You Ever Had”
A slow down, and a thoughtful place for one. I was wondering when Megan would slip into her crooning, and after the energy of the previous song, this is a great place for a reprieve. Pacing queen. "Cognac Queen." I love hearing Megan’s punchy energy in the forum of a love song. Not worrying about anything, knowing her worth, and feeling herself as a top shelf woman. It must be a real treat to fall in love with Megan Thee Stallion. She’s got so much heart between her lyrics. Megan sounds like a rider. “You got a diamond, boy, you better act like it.” I pity anyone who lets Meg go. Another novel, early favorite.
7. “Simon Says” ft. Juicy J
Here we go! The Juicy J collaboration I was so excited for. An array of samples cycling through my headphones. We’re back in the dark, brooding bag. A storm is brewing over this hook. Megan’s sweet demeanor has been replaced by a charged up and killer tone. Racks and pussy, we’re back where we began and I’m not mad at it. Megan sounds phenomenal and her spirit is inextinguishable. Juicy! “Ratchet pussy magnet.” These two sound like they’ve been making songs together for damn near a decade. The big Three 6 energy of this track, of this album, is such a boon.
8. “Shake That”
Halfway through, I don’t want this album to end. More “real fucking Hot Girl shit.” The twerk anthem of the album, which I should have guessed from the title. Much like Rico’s “Big Titties,” I love this song, but boy can I not relate. “Who shake that ass the best? Me.” So much brilliance to this simple brag. Megan makes the most basic of boasts sound luxurious and nice. There’s a drone to this song, and I’m not sure if it works, but Megan is putting in work all the same. She hasn’t let up once. Nothing sounds phoned in.
9. “Money Good”
A familiar and welcome producer tag. These two go so well together. “I ain’t gotta worry ‘bout shit, money good.” That’s so great to hear. I love knowing the artists we support are getting to their money. “Fuck getting clout.” I agree. These dramatic accents are really selling the beat, along with the patter of the chords. The terror of the opening cuts is a touch subdued here, but not to anyone’s detriment. There are flavors to Fever. “You ain’t bringing nothing to the table but your plate.” Kill them. Absolutely kill them, Megan. There’s this little inflection Megan is bringing on the “Should I flex?” bar that is a perfect emotional trick. Instant replay value built-in. Ooh! The “too!”s. A song full of emotional tricks that is another early favorite.
All the nods to Three 6 and Juicy are spectacular. We love an artist who loves the artists who made her. Megan really found the pocket of the melody here and her flow feels relentless as a result. There’s a pounding oscillation to the delivery that has Meg feeling like a bullet train, without having to become messy and breathless. Her technical rapping ability is so admirable. Amidst all her aesthetic plays and her range of lyricism, one thing remains true: Megan Thee Stallion came here to motherfucking rap. “He was nervous, ‘cause I’m gangster.” Another simple line that sounds worth its weight in gold, all because Megan is the meanest.
The breathy delivery is sending me. I’ve never drank Henny out the bottle, but now I’m ready to face a whole thing. Megan knows how to control her voice to an impeccable degree. The little ways she lets her breath overtake the bars makes for another fantastic emotional trick. This hook is so simple yet so bananas. She’s in our heads. She’s got us under a spell with this one. “Ratchet” feels like an incantation. We’re at a seance for all party girls past and future. Megan is speaking to spirits with this hook. Grab the Ouija board and spill some Henny on it.
12. “Sex Talk”
The single. I remember liking it upon first listen, but in the context of the album, it doesn’t have as much fire. This is the problem with singles on the whole: you never know how they’ll play on the album. The song is fine, but feels like a hiccup following “Ratchet.” “Sex Talk,” sadly, sucks some color out of the album. For an album that sounds as novel as Fever, I reject the familiar. The album would be better served with “Sex Talk” placed elsewhere, perhaps following “Shake That.” Love the “Muah.”
13. “Big Drank”
I love the sound of pouring drinks. Pull me into the scene of the song, Megan. Another crooning track. I was admittedly expecting more of these, but the tightness of this one and of “Best You Ever Had” has me feeling satisfied. Megan’s bringing that “Good At” energy, and I’m not mad at it. That’s a Tina Snow favorite. “Tell me what’s important. Is it me, or what’s in your cup?” Well, that was unexpectedly heavy. I now have to marinate on this really astute lyric about substance abuse. How did she do that? Megan is a master. “Drink it all off me.” Okay, we’re back. Excuse me, I think too much. This track is the perfect marriage between Hot Girl Meg and “Cognac Queen.”
14. “Running Up Freestyle”
Ending with what Megan does best: eviscerating the microphone. I’m with it. How else to close a party album than with a big hurrah? Megan is just speeding through these bars. As with “Cocky AF,” closing the album in this way leaves us with an important final impression: Megan Thee Stallion is a motherfucking rapper. She’s not a “femcee.” She’s nothing like what you could have ever imagined. She’s a spitter. Point blank. Period. Phew. She’s still going. “Hot Girl Meg from the motherfucking South.”
Final (First Listen) Thoughts on Megan Thee Stallion’s Fever:
What a riveting debut. Hot Girl Meg is a contender for best alter-ego currently working in hip-hop. Where Tina Snow was all about hustling and high energy, Fever and Hot Girl Meg are all about partying—with measure. There’s a power to each track. A dominance. And Megan Thee Stallion never sounds overrun, burnt out, or bored. She keeps the party alive, but she's partying on her terms. There are no bubble gum pop rap tracks here to please all palettes. Megan stayed true to her Southern roots and made a debut already worthy of year-end lists.
Fever is—please excuse me—a very hot album. The heat of the record rises up from the production and envelops you. There’s a steadiness you wouldn’t come to expect from a party album. This is a very localized turn up. Megan does the South proud, with a tight-fisted delivery throughout that showcases her breath control, pacing, and uncanny ability to take her audiences for a ride. We’re hanging on her every syllable, and she spits with such an attractive clarity. Even the most technically celebrated rappers do not have the control Megan brings to this record.
I didn’t want Fever to be anything short of novel. And it didn’t disappoint. So many artists are lauded for bridging the old school with the new school, but Megan used Fever to re-introduce a generation of rap fans to the magic of Three 6 Mafia and the South et. al. And it paid off. There was no track that made me feel like I was being had. No track that sounded like a copy. At no point did I wish I was listening to the better version of Fever. I wanted Fever to spark joy, and it did so much more than that.
Fever proves there is only one Megan Thee Stallion, and we are so lucky to watch her rise to the top and get hers. Real Hot Girl shit, indeed.