There was a time Megan Thee Stallion was just Megan Pete, a girl from Houston, Texas, who aspired to be a plastic surgeon. The 24-year-old had grown up watching Dr 90210 and discovered the joy cosmetic surgery brought to women.
But she ultimately embarked on a much different path. “What can I do to make ladies feel like bad bitches?” she said to XXL Mag. “I’ll just make bad bitch music!” And that she did. Last year, the rapper blew up onto the scene with “Big Ole Freak,” a flirtatious cut from her Tina Snow EP that’s all about bumping and grinding. Her brazen and audacious rapping style has made fellow musicians like Solange, SZA and Lil Uzi Vert take notice. It even gained her a mentor in hip hop legend Q-Tip.
But the rapper isn’t horsing around. With her debut album, Fever, on the horizon, Megan is more than ready to prove to the world she’s no one-trick pony, as Essence put it. Find out more about the rising star below.
Rapping runs in her blood
For Megan, being a rapper wasn’t a choice: It was her destiny. Growing up, the Houston native had a rather atypical childhood, spending most of her afternoons in the studio with her late mother, Holly Thomas, a former rapper who performed under the moniker Holly-Wood.
Although Thomas’ musical career was short-lived—she emerged in 2001 and retired after six years—it had a huge influence on Megan, who would occasionally steal her mother’s instrumentals to write rap songs in secret. At 18, the rapper mustered the courage to tell her mom about her skills on the mic.
Megan received Thomas’ support eventually, only if she promised to pursue rapping professionally after she was of age. “I don’t even know why I was hiding it from her,” the rapper told Billboard last year. “I rapped for her, and she was like, ‘Oh you ain’t coming out until you 21!’ So that’s how we got Megan [Thee Stallion] started.” Thomas later quit her full-time job and became Megan’s manager, up until her untimely passing this past March.
Empowering women is her goal
Here’s what Megan and her female counterparts CupcakKe, City Girls and Saweetie all have in common: They’re bold, confident and dripping in sex appeal. Together, these ladies are leading the charge on hip hop’s latest wave of fearless female rappers, who aren’t only charismatic, but unapologetic when it comes to their sexuality.
In a recent Billboard profile, Megan explained that her breakout hit “Big Ole Freak,” a twerkable and raunchy number, shouldn’t be taken at face value. Despite the song’s sexually explicit lyrics, the track bears a deeper meaning that reflects on a woman’s self-worth and confidence. “[The song] makes [women] feel free and sexy, and that’s really important,” Megan said. “Once you make the girls happy, then you got a winner.”
She wants to abolish rap’s double standards
It comes as no surprise that Megan’s discography of sexually-charged anthems has made her a constant victim of misogynistic remarks. Earlier this year, an interviewer named DJ Smallz Eyes was criticized for asking the rapper lewd questions about her body and if she had any surgical implants.
Having dealt with unacceptable behavior from men for most of her life, Megan admits she wasn’t offended. Instead of allowing crass comments to dampen her spirit, the rapper turns them into motivational fuel to flip the feminist script on hip hop. In a recent conversation with Billboard, the rapper discussed the importance of shattering the rap scene’s sexist double standards. “We gotta show [men] that we can do what we want to do, how we want to do it. If someone doesn’t like it, they can get to stepping,” she said.
She hopes to open a healthcare facility one day
When she’s not too busy dropping slick bars, Megan spends her time at Texas Southern University studying health administration. The rapper, who graduates from college this fall, was inspired by her grandmother to open an assisted living facility for the elderly in her hometown. While making music is her dream, giving back to the community has always been Megan’s lifelong passion.
“I see it in neighborhoods all around Houston. You got your people taking care of your people. I just feel like it’ll be a weight lifted off of family members if they had somewhere for their grandparents to go and be comfortable,” she told Variety of her future plans. And once Megan’s earned enough money from her music, she promises she’ll have her facility up and running.
She’s a big fan of anime
Juggling a rap career and senior year of college can get tough. That’s why Megan turns to anime to relieve stress. Some of her favorite shows include Inuyasha, Bleach, Attack on Titan and Hunter x Hunter, all of which feature strong and admirable heroines. “These anime shows give [its female characters] power. She’s always the queen or somebody that you cannot beat—I love that,” Megan told Billboard. The rapper also sometimes dyes her wigs to cosplay her favorite characters.
But her love for anime doesn’t end there: it even spills over into her raps. Take for example her jaw-dropping Fire in the Booth freestyle, where the rapper smoothly slid in witty Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z references while taking aim at her exes. “Got the moves like I’m Ryu / Yellow diamonds, Pikachu / When I switch my hair to blonde, finna turn up like Goku,” she spits.
If anyone claims bad bitches don’t watch anime, they clearly have not met Megan Thee Stallion.
For more Under the Radar stories, check here.