While I knew what she looked like from the internet, and fully understood her branding as the “H-Town Hottie,” I was still taken aback when the Houston rapper, born Megan Pete, walked into the Complex office in late November of last year. At 5’10”, she already has a good half-a-foot over me, but towering on top of expensive heels, she was well over 6 feet tall. “Oh, you thought I was lying about being a stallion?” she joked as we boarded the elevator with her mini entourage—consisting mostly of her 1501 Certified Ent. team, and her mother, Holly, who acts as her manager and day-to-day publicist.
You can front all you want, but we expect our female rap stars to look a certain way. Thankfully, Megan prefers to be a bad bitch all on her own, so we’re playing right into her hands, instead of the other way around. Her power lies directly in her self-confidence, honesty, and unmitigated desire to dominate—and not just when it comes to life itself; these qualities pour through her music.
Her biggest single to date is “Big Ole Freak,” from her breakout June project, Tina Snow, and the opening lines are: “Big ole freak/Big booty, big ole treat/I’mma make him wait for the pussy/Hit it till you big ole skeet.” It’s explicit, for sure, but in Megan’s opinion, the raised eyebrows she receives as a sexually liberated woman reflect a double standard. Not only that, she says, she could be rapping about much worse.
“Dudes can talk about sex all day long,” she explained before playing songs off of her new project, Fever, set to be released this month. “Or they can talk about drugs, they can talk about killing people. That’s their whole body of work. And then me being a woman, I don’t wanna shoot you. I’m not in the game. I’m not popping pills, so what? I’m not about to talk about that. So I talk about what I love on my body and I talk about what I like to do. So if you wanna listen, you can. If you don’t, that’s you.”
At 23 years old, and with just a couple of projects under her belt, Megan Thee Stallion has already skyrocketed to the top of my own list of current favorite rappers. (It should be noted that she’s doing all of this as a full-time senior at Texas Southern University, where she studies health administration.) Megan has perfected a balance between subtle sexiness and pearl-clutching eroticism; when she’s not seducing the entire fuck out of you, she’s being extraordinarily witty. Exhibit A, via 2017’s “Stalli Freestyle”: “Your favorite rapper only use onomatopoeias.”
A scene-stealing feature on Wale’s late 2018 “Pole Dancer” single is the latest bit of proof that Megan is not only actively refining her skills, but also inching closer and closer to mainstream rap stardom. Her recently announced signing to the 300 label is another major step forward in the game for her. Megan spoke with Complex about being the “First Lady” of 300, her introduction to Houston rap, why she calls her supporters “Hotties,” the unbalanced aesthetic expectations for men and women who rap, and what to expect on her upcoming project, Fever.
I’m from Texas and I had a friend who was listening to you before me. What does it feel like to have your home state backing you like this and spreading the word about you?
I feel like Texas—Houston, [specifically]—but Texas, we have a rich music culture. So just for everybody to rock with me that tough, just seeing what came before me, it makes me feel like I have big shoes to fill. But I definitely really appreciate it and I love it because I love the Texas culture. So just to be a part of it now, it’s really blowing my mind.
Your San Antonio show looked absolutely crazy. It was really cool to see how the crowd was right there saying every fucking word.
When you made Tina Snow, were you thinking about the potential crowd response?
I wasn’t even thinking about performing it. Literally, I rapped to myself in the mirror or I’ll like, rap to my mama. Just seeing everyone rocking with it that tough, it really like... I don’t know. I be like, “Damn, I can’t hear myself rapping.” [Laughs]. It’s an amazing feeling, though. I love it.
Many of the women I know, including my sister, fuck with you super heavy. Could you estimate the ratio of men who support you versus women who support you?
At first, it was definitely more women—but my shows! There’s so many fine women that come to my shows, so now I’m seeing hard men coming in there. I feel like boys listen to my music. They just don’t like to admit it, but I go hard. But yeah, I feel like I go really hard, so why not listen to me? Anybody could relate to my music, honestly.
I agree. As we all know, though, hip-hop is male dominated. Have you run into any sexism issues so far?
In my opinion, no. I feel like the way you come in the room and demand your respect, or just my presence, it’s not making it really hard for me to get any respect that I want. I’mma come with it, because you know they’re men and they’re gonna get their respect, so you gonna have to respect me the same.
It’s obvious you work very hard on your rhymes—but also on your fitness and your appearance. Do you feel like there’s a double standard at play that forces you to work harder, as a woman?
[Gives a side-eye] A man could come in the room with his hair not cut, not done, pants around his ankles and people still gon’ be like, “Oh, that’s his style. It’s cool.” Being a woman, you have to be on your P’s and Q’s at all times, because not only do you have to keep up your appearance for men, but other women judge you so hard. So women just always have to be on point.
You rap a lot about sex. Do you feel like that’s a barrier for any potential listeners?
If you don’t like it, you don’t have to listen. Dudes can talk about sex all day long, or they can talk about drugs, they can talk about killing people. That’s their whole body of work. And then me being a woman, I don’t wanna shoot you. I’m not in the game. I’m not popping pills, so what? I’m not about to talk about that. So I talk about what I love on my body and I talk about what I like to do. So if you wanna listen, you can. If you don’t, that’s you.
I know Pimp C was a major source of influence for you. He initially came out in the late ‘80s, which is way before you were born. How were you introduced to his music?
My mom was a big UGK fan.
So was mine!
Just being a little girl, I would get in the car and my mama would be playing Pimp C. I would get in the car everyday after school and be like, “Mama, put on that Pimp! Put on Pimp C!” So, I took it into being grown now, just still bumping him. He just made me feel so cool as a kid. I didn’t even understand what he was saying, but I knew it just felt good. When I grew up, I was like, “Yeah, OK, I get it.” So, I’m definitely still bumping Pimp C. I wish he was alive because I wish I could have met him.
I wish y’all could have worked together. That would have been fucking insane.
That would have been crazy.
If you could talk to him, what would you say?
I would just ask him how he feels about my music and just ask him for advice. And how was he handling what he was going through at the time, and just me trying to be like a woman spin-off of him. I just wanted to see what he would tell me. I just wanna listen. I ain’t got nothing to tell him. I’m listening.
For sure. Do you have an absolute No. 1 favorite song by a Houston artist?
Well, [UGK’s] “Gravy” is my favorite song by them, honestly.
What is it like developing your craft in a musically influential city like Houston?
I don’t feel like I sound like anybody from Houston. I don’t really feel like I have that Houston flow, that Houston sound. I feel like it’s a mixture of all the things I’ve listened to growing up, or even my mom, in a way. I feel like I have my own style.
I hear that a lot, though. I hear that I don’t really sound like the typical Houston artist. So me developing me, it’s just probably a mixture of my personality and the type of music I grew up listening to.
Is there a local act you want to collaborate with that you haven’t gotten the chance to yet?
The artist from Houston that I wanted to work with was Maxo [Kream], and we just did a collab. I was crunk about that.
Awesome. Any other artists on your list?
I wanna work with Beyoncé. Obviously, I have to get the OG Hottie—the Houston Hottie—to do a song with me.
You have this Hot Girl/Hottie movement going. What does it represent to you?
Being a hot girl is somebody that’s very confident, somebody that spreads good energy, just being unapologetic. My fans, I call them Hotties. I don’t really like to say “fans,” but my supporters, they’re Hotties. I feel like I’ve seen a few that didn’t even know each other, but they’ve come to every show so now they’re linking up, being cool. I feel like that’s so cute. I love it, and we’re always gassing up people on the internet. If you look good, we’re like “Oh, bitch!” So, [a Hottie is] definitely somebody that’s very supportive of others, somebody that’s very kind, confident. Just real sassy.
We have not had a female rapper [In TEXAS] that is just this booming, so I’m definitely trying to put us on the map.
I like the way you just described it, because typically, when you hear “hot girl,” you think she has to be conventionally attractive, she has to be fit, she has to be this, this, this. To hear you explain it…
Yeah, it’s not just the physical.
Exactly. You recently announced you’re signing to 300—congratulations. I saw that you said a few other labels were in the picture, but this is the one that you went with. What drew you to them?
300 was the label who showed the most, that they just wanted me that bad. They were persistent, they were calling everyday. They were not playing with me and I want somebody that’s gon’ show me that attention. I want to be a priority, and at 300, they were like, “You’re gonna be like the First Lady, so please come.” So I was like “Yeah, let’s do it.”
So what are you hoping to accomplish with 300?
Well, being the First Lady over there, I’m obviously about to break all kinds of barriers. But I definitely just want more people to know about me and my music, and I just want it to spread. I don’t feel like my sound is similar to any female artist that’s out right now, so I definitely feel like we just need some Texas flavor. Texas: We have not had a female rapper that is just this booming, so I’m definitely trying to put us on the map, in that aspect.
The last thing I want to talk about is your upcoming project, Fever, obviously. What can we expect to hear on Fever?
This is a whole new persona. This is Hot Girl Meg. Tina Snow, she was the pimp, real confident. Hot Girl Meg is still confident, too, but this is more turn-up music to me. Hot Girl Meg is the life of the party, so you’re definitely gonna hear that in Fever.
I’m just very excited for the project to come out because I feel like it’s more turnt than Tina Snow. Tina Snow was…
It was cute turnt.
You know what I’m saying? Put your purse on your arm, be in the club. But this one, you gon’ be sweating by the time you get done dancing. So I’m just really excited for it to come out.