Written by Sam Hadelman
Today, Megan Thee Stallion is one of hip-hop’s brightest stars, and this week she gave us a preview of her musical development on her EP, Suga. Though she dominated the airwaves in 2019, recently her name has been circulating for contractual disputes rather than music. In the last couple of weeks she has been in an extremely public contract dispute with ‘1501 Certified Entertainment’, the company ran by Ex-MLB player Carl Crawford. It was through this news cycle that we found out the reason, according to Megan Thee Stallion, to which she hasn’t been dropping music like she used to. The Hot Girl Summer rapper alleges that 1501 Certified Entertainment barred her from releasing music videos, a short film, and music since her breakout summer in 2019.
This is quite apparent when looking at her recent output, or lack thereof, and the facts that have followed have enlightened the fans to the situation she is currently in. In fact, she had to get a court order to let her release this project, which she won. With Suga, Megan Thee Stallion finally lets her fans know where her music is heading sonically after her meteoric rise to fame.
It’s apparent that Megan Thee Stallion is an expert at the art of rapping, and can make songs that appeal to late nights at the club, and heartbreak, but the question this EP needed to answer was, is there more? In hip-hop, sometimes we see artists, especially women in the industry, be pigeonholed into one sound, rather than being encouraged to experiment past the appeal of what fans are used to. Suga could have either been indicative of Megan The Stallion’s development of her old sound, or rather a showing of her new sonic diversity. After listening to the record, the result was a mix of both.
The album starts off taking no prisoners with ‘Aint Equal’, produced by the hitmaker Helluva. This song is a perfect showing of Megan Thee Stallion’s raw skills on the mic, which sometimes get lost in the grand arsenal of what makes her popular. This record showed Megan Thee Stallion evolving from her past form, with the results being for the better. Following this explosive start, we see Megan The Stallion stay in her bag with ‘Savage’. These are the types of records that put Megan on the map; with her uncheckable confidence and Instagrammable lyrics being at the forefront of the song. This is one of her strongest showing on the album, it’s a perfect display of Megan’s development in the hip-hop realm while making her sound more accessible than before.
Almost every beat on this record is quite complimentary to her style and pushes the boundaries of her music even further, and this shines through on the next song ‘Captain Hook’. The braggadocious swagger that we love from Megan is on full force on this song and the lavish production makes it easier than her forever to ride the beat effortlessly. ‘Hit My Phone’ is where she falls back into the sound that made her so popular last summer, with the help of collaborator Kehlani and a beat worked on by Jake One, a co-producer on ‘Bodak Yellow’. Though the song is not one of the albums shining moments, it adds a wider appeal for the album and makes the record more diverse. ‘B.I.T.C.H’ is the album’s lead single and the center of the record. It was one of the few songs we heard in between her legal fight with 1501 Certified Entertainment, and even though it was pushed heavily, it ends up being a less memorable moment on the album in comparison to much more developed songs on Suga.
‘Rich’ could easily be the soundtrack to any weekend out at the club, with Megan Thee Stallion still showing off her grade A rapping abilities. This whole record served as a reminder that unlike a lot of her peers, Megan’s talent is the crux of her fame, and songs like ‘Rich’ are great exhibitions of this. ‘Crying In The Car’ and ‘Stop Playing’, with the feature of the always smooth Gunna and legendary production duo Neptunes show Megan Thee Stallion stepping out of her comfort zone and trying out heavily melodic, R&B influenced tracks. At times, these tracks are almost indistinguishable as Megan, yet still, keep that catchy energy we see on the rest of the record. Even though these autotune laced records are not as solid as other records on the EP, it still shows that she is open to experimentation, a concern that was brought up during the beginnings of her career. The album ends with ‘What I Need’, co-produced by Timbaland, which was another showing of the new, melodic Megan mixed with the lyrical Houston Hottie we are used to. Though I do not think this collaboration was as flawless as that with The Neptunes, Timbaland brings a bounce out of Megan that was infectious.
Suga proved that Megan Thee Stallion is not chasing bags, but longevity. With her great ear for beats, diverse collection of songs, and ability to out rap anyone in her league, it is evident that Megan Thee Stallion is here to stay, regardless of what drama happens on the side.