It's Megan Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer and we’re all just living in it

by Bella Carbone

It's Megan Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer and we’re all just living in it

Nothing says summertime quite like Megan Thee Stallion releasing her self-titled album MEGAN. As she states on the first track of the album, “HISS,” Megan has claimed the summer season. The phrase “Hot Girl Summer” came about from her, with an hit song and arena tour. Megan has her own record label and entertainment company, Hot Girl Productions. MEGAN is her first full album produced under the label, meaning she has more creative control over her music. With this knowledge, I was especially ready for this album to come out and hear what her music would sound like when she’s calling the shots.

For Megan, more control over her music meant creating a central motif that is maintained throughout MEGAN and its preceding promotion. From the album cover art to the song titles and lyrical themes, Megan’s serpent-stricken album has a double-entendre meaning. On the one hand, it symbolizes the snake-like figure she has been painted as in the public eye through her trial with Tory Lanez and the rap beef that followed. On the other hand, it demonstrates her shedding this image in the media and re-birthing herself. This is evident in the album’s cover art which depicts her crawling out from the shell of an egg. Further, the “Cobra” music video begins with the mantra “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again,” and imagery of her physically removing her shedding skin as a snake would.

Megan did not hold back on her lead-up singles for the album “Cobra,” “HISS,” and “BOA.” She disses other artists and reveals her truths during a time when she feels unfairly ostracized by the public. “Cobra” is a rock-influenced track where Megan gets deep and discusses her struggle with mental health which is uncommon in rap music. “HISS” is daring but highly entertaining in its controversy-charged lyrics. “BOA” is fun and snappy, but I can’t help but feel it was made for TikTok, with a formulaic beat that goes “ticktock, ticktock, ticktock, ticktock.” However, it still gets stuck in my head, and I find myself randomly humming along to the amusing lyrics.

The self-proclaimed Houston Hottie must always pay homage to her hometown of Houston, Texas. The song “Paper Together” features rap-duo UGK who are Houston hip-hop royalty. Megan’s incredible rap verses juxtaposed against these well-respected artists solidifies her name in Houston hip-hop Herstory. She pays tribute to her roots and credits these artists who inspired her to become the artist she is today. The collaboration track with her tour opener and fellow female rapper, GloRilla, also pays tribute to both of their southern origins. “Accent” is a song that’s main theme revolves around both rappers' country twang in their voices. I was especially excited to listen to this song when the album’s tracklist came out as the two rappers have had amazing chemistry ever since The Hot Girl Summer Tour. The two rappers also recently released a collaboration track “Wanna Be” earlier this year which I have had on repeat. Sadly, “Accent” is not as much of a banger as “Wanna Be” yet, I still find myself bumping this track and dancing along to a solid tune. Her catchy, pop track “Worthy,” and other songs made sure to mention witty lines referencing Texas. “Worthy” has an infectious, lively beat that is a similar style to its predecessor “Don’t Rock Me To Sleep” from Good News.

Even with the homage paid to Houston, MEGAN displays a global influence. On “Otaku Hot Girl” and “Mamush,.” Megan meshes her love for rap and Japanese popular culture. Rapping, “I’m a weeb and a baddie,” Megan pairs her typical hot girl lyrics with references to anime characters, Japanese cities, Japanese phrases, and the use of the Japanese language. “Mamushi” features Yuki Chiba, a very popular Japanese rapper, and verses in Japanese that show Megan’s ability to experiment with language and rap style. The title also continues with the reptilian theme, as “Mamushi” translates to ‘snake’ in English.

Megan teased the song “Where Them Girls At” on Instagram with a twerk video on her tour bus with her fellow tour dancers. I was particularly excited for this song after hearing the snippet on Instagram and it did not disappoint. This song is a baddie anthem that is the perfect hype song to play while getting ready for a night out on the town. Megan knows her audience and she catered to the hot girls who needed their song of the summer. “B.A.S” is another song that is full of energy. It is a mixture of trap and NYC drill that features Brooklynn rapper Kyle Richh. It also includes a soulful Teena Marie sample which culminates into a unique but risky sound for Megan that pays off quite well, making “B.A.S” a savory hit.

Victoria Monét appears on the song “Spin,” which is a silky blend of hip-hop and pop. The combination of Megan’s intense flow with Victoria Monét’s angelic autotuned vocals results in a seductive, contemporary hit. The up-tempo and rhythmic tune makes you want to get up and dance along, and has the potential to serve a large audience from pop fans to hip-hop fans to RnB fans. I wish Victoria Monét had stronger vocals on the chorus and a less edited sound, but it is still catchy and summery. MEGAN also taps into her sad girl side with the song “Moody Girl.” The slow on-beat flow culminates into one of the strongest songs on the album. The melancholic beat and lyrics are not all-encompassing as the pacing and rapping work to uplift the somber tone. I love the softer, slower beat with Megan’s fierce rapping; it creates the perfect song for both being in your bag and getting in your feels. The ability to have a rap album embody an expansive range of emotions is impressive.

Megan Thee Stallion has created a polished album that flaunts her versatility and complexity as an artist. MEGAN explores different styles and vibes from different locations, artists, and genres. Megan Thee Stallion is a rapper, but she is not constrained by the genre to create uniform, cookie-cutter raps. Rather, she experiments and plays with her music which keeps her catalog vibrant. Despite its large size at eighteen songs, MEGAN is a coherent record – I may not be a fan of every single song, but they all fit in with each other. Megan Thee Stallion steps out of the box, but without losing the Megan we all know and love. Hot Girl Summer is officially back in session, and I see MEGAN becoming the soundtrack of the summer!

Top Tracks: Moody Girl, Spin, Accent, Where Them Girls At, Worthy, and “B.A.S.”