Megan Thee Manifester
Two decades later, most every rapper globally wants to be, sample, or sound Southern, and a Southern cadence or beat might be as likely to come from a rapper from Queens or Compton as one from Memphis or Atlanta. As a result of the undeniable popularity of the South, Gangsta Boo says, the field is more open, and she’s inspired and motivated by this new generation of Southern women hip-hop artists: “I love the dancing that they’re doing, I love the business moves that they’re making, and it’s cool to see. They’re having a damn good time.”
Too good to be contained. Listeners have come to know Megan as well as her cast of alter egos. There’s Tina Snow, Megan’s signature mirror-image of the late rapper Pimp C of UGK. There is Hot Girl Meg, of course.
And there is Suga, from the 2020 album of the same name. “When I’m Suga, that’s me when I’m ready to be a little bit more vulnerable and more open,” Megan says. “It’s very hard for me to be vulnerable sometimes; it’s very hard for me to be open sometimes, especially in my music. I do try to keep my private things private. But being in the light, it’s hard to be so private. So I’m like, ‘Okay, since y’all think y’all know my business half the time, let me tell you from the source, let me tell you from the horse’s mouth.’” And she has indeed told us straight from the Stallion’s mouth. In October she celebrated her one-year anniversary with boyfriend Pardison Fontaine, whom she confirmed she was dating in an Instagram Live.
For all of their quantity and range, Tina Snow, Hot Girl Meg, and Suga cannot collectively hold Megan’s creative capacity or tell the fullest and truest version of the artist’s story. Even Beyoncé had to kill off Sasha Fierce. And for all the possibilities of the form, especially in Megan’s care, rap can’t contain her. Her next project—much teased—fuses her multiple archetypes to speak her truths, even more sharply and definitively. Beyond music, she is returning to her readerly and writerly roots, lending her distinct voice and perspective to film and TV.
Moreover, lurking beneath all these archetypes in her music—but more plainly evident in her visual lexicon—is an unnamed Horror Girl Meg, a rap Beloved, skulking about the lower frequencies, interested in the pain, the rage, and what is owed Black women in a world that perpetually harms and disrespects them. Her videos contain references to Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Alice in Wonderland. She’s a fan of Stephen King. “I like to be in suspense. I like to be scared. I like creepy stuff,” she says. She has produced Megan Thee Stallion in Hottieween, a YouTube series in which she starred as a P.I. protecting women from vampire “fuccbois.”
Some horror is lived. During her summer 2020 Tidal concert, the stage went dark as the names of Black people killed by police appeared onscreen. At one point during her fall 2020 SNL performance, the movement stopped and the geometric black-and-white background was punctured with gunshots. Splotches of blood rained down. The audience heard the voices of Malcolm X and the activist Tamika D. Mallory. The next week she followed up the performance with an opinion piece in The New York Times, in which she called for an end to violence against Black women.
Published at Tue, 02 Nov 2021 11:00:00 +0000