“Lil’ people make lil’ people, stallions breed prize babies” raps Megan Thee Stallion on her debut album Good News. If Megan’s a stallion, she’s a Man O’ War – a future legend, excelling in her field with her tongue out and a glint in her eye.
The long-awaited Good News arrives on a wave of successes, from the Beyoncé-featuring Savage remix (surely the viral TikTok dance of 2020) to her year-defining Cardi B collaboration WAP. She first caught attention in 2013 with blistering freestyles that took off on Instagram and has since built a world-conquering following, all without a full length record. Good News lives up to its name: it is confident, clever and fun.
The i newsletter latest news and analysis
Good News opens by shutting down the number one talking point that 25-year-old Megan Pete, has been saddled with this year: in July 2020 she was shot twice. Rapper Tory Lanez has been charged with the assault (he denies the allegation) and social media has raged both for and against Megan in the intervening months. In October, she published an op ed about the incident in the New York Times titled “Why I Speak Up For Black Women” and album opener Shots Fired is her definitive clapback at the man who assaulted her. She names no names, but riddles her assaulter with verbal bullets (“Imagine me givin’ a fuck it was your fuckin’ birthday / You in your feelings, I just thought it was another Thursday”), demands justice for Breonna Taylor and samples Notorious B.I.G.’s Who Shot Ya?. It’s savage and conclusive, putting the subject of the assault to bed so she can get on with the rest of the record.
Let’s not mess about, it’s filthy. Megan revels in her sexuality, every song served with a side order of smut, all the while flipping the male-rapper-sex-fiend stereotype on its head. If your dick isn’t curved, she’s not interested. If you don’t have income, she’s not interested. She’s going to juggle as many men as she wants and she’ll FaceTime her next conquest while you’re lying, post coital, beside her. She’s never defined by the men on Good News, either those providing guest verses (2 Chainz, DaBaby, Popcaan and Young Thug all feature) or fodder for her own; this is Megan’s world and if you’re granted entry then you better not mess it up or you might end up the subject of a line like “Said, “Let’s make a movie,” and nutted so quick, we made a story (Ugh)”.
Good News is fast and funny, with as many meme-able lines as there are genuine laugh-out-loud ones (“All them bitches scary cats, I call ’em Carole Baskins”). Smart samples from Mary J Blige and Eazy E among others lend the record a familiar, instant-icon feel and there are hooks for days – guarantee you’ll be muttering “body-ody-ody-ody” in your sleep. Towards the end, she even slips into pop mode – Don’t Rock Me To Sleep is a huge pop tune that sees Megan singing rather than spitting, while “Outside” makes masterful use of panpipes.
Mostly written and made during the pandemic, Good News manages to turn solitude and anxiety into something that feels like a night in with your best friends making fun of every dude you ever even flirted with. Her power is summed up in the haters kiss off What’s New, in which she shrugs off anyone who ever tried to take her on; in the end it all comes down to her rhyming prowess: “I’m the baddest bitch, who wanna fight about it? /Put ’em in the booth, I bet I’ll take the title.” After Good News, I wouldn’t bet against her.