Published Nov 24, 2020With unabashed raunchiness, shoot-to-kill confidence, and dizzying wordplay, rapper Megan Thee Stallion has been too often described as the "female version" of Southern hip-hop legends like Juicy J and her biggest influence, Pimp C. It's time to stop with the lazy and sexist comparisons and take Megan for what she is — a singular talent with more gusto and guts than most rappers out there, and her long-awaited debut album (following up the Suga EP from earlier this year) is unmistakable proof of her increasingly towering presence over the rest of the game.
Coming mere months after she was allegedly shot by Tory Lanez, Megan answers all questions on the aptly titled opener "Shots Fired." Without mentioning Lanez by name, Megan unflinchingly tears into him against a sample of Biggie's "Who Shot Ya," launching an aerial strike of disses zeroed in on the abuser's head and his apologists. Calling Lanez "A pussy n**** with a pussy gun in his feelings," this track brims with bloodthirsty one-liners, which happens to be the case through the majority of the album.
Loaded with bars fueled by female empowerment and raunchy wisecracks like "Fucked him good, now he shakin', call that n**** Crazy Legs" on "Movie," the fire-spitting phenom ensures every line leaves an impression. Try listening to Megan rap "Moaning like a bitch when he hit this pussy / Damn, he probably wanna wear my hoodie" on "Cry Baby" without laughing.
While Megan's "Hot Girl Summer" mantra is clear as ever, her party-girl braggadocio feels more nuanced by recent tragedy. Yes, listeners are blasted with sex-positive bangers that bounce from wall-to-wall, like the infectious "Body," which will surely be gentrified by White TikTok in the coming days, but these moments are made human next to moments like "Circles" where she reflects on recent trauma: "Bullet wounds, backstabs, mama died, still sad / At war with myself, in my head..."
Though a 50-minute runtime isn't grueling on paper, its 17-song tracklist makes it feel longer than it really is. Sure, the Beyonce-featuring remix of Suga track "Savage" goes as hard as anything released this year, and, yes, "Girls In the Hood" is a refreshing take on Eazy-E's "Boyz-n-the-Hood." But when considering these singles were released what seems like ages ago, they feel now like ultimately unnecessary to Good News' newer tracks. Additionally, Megan's robust flows overpower the presence of her star-studded list of features. Pairing her blistering talents with sleepier one-trick ponies like Lil Durk, Big Sean and DaBaby, dampens the hype coursing through the album.
But even with some slight shortcomings, Megan's reclamation of tragedy is refreshing. In a year where any good news has been hard to find, the bar-busting Texan, full of raw charisma and energy, is every bit of good news. Near tragedy may have struck Megan early this year, but she's won't allow it, nor any haters and toxic men, to define her present and certainly not her bright future. (300 Entertainment)