Megan Thee Stallion is Houston's Q-Tip-Approved, Anime-Loving Rap Sensation [Interview]
Amid her continuing rise, we talked with Megan Thee Stallion about having Q-Tip as a mentor, her love for anime, and how she got so good at freestyling.
Megan Thee Stallion has gone viral. Numerous times.
She has increasingly become the name behind lyrics blasting on videos of friends twerking on their car. Her lyrics are quoted under and over the tops of “baddie” photos posted on social media. Freestyle videos interrupt timelines and are escorted by reams of tweets about anime, performance dates, and retweets from fans sharing their love for the self-dubbed “Black Regina George” — a confident, sharp and quick-witted black Southern woman who has rekindled the fire of Hot Girl season from the ashes of Winter.
The rapper, born Megan Pete, often talks about how she was immersed in hip-hop beginning at a young age — much credit given to her mother, manager and former rapper, Holly-Wood, as well as one of her favorites, Pimp C. It only seemed right that the current Texas Southern University student followed suit.
Since the drop of her first single “Like A Stallion” in 2016, Megan has amassed a growing fanbase with songs like “Big Ole Freak” which has climbed to #23 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Megan’s video to the song, which was released at the end of February, already has more than two million views on Youtube.
The Houston native’s flirtatious and confidently conceited lyrics on “Freak Nasty” and “What TF I Want” – both featured on her 2018 project Tina Snow – square her up to be another female hip hop bastion for black millennials. But it’s moments like her “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” freestyle that showcases her lyrical grit.
Megan has acquired an increasing group of captivated admirers already thirsting for future summer jams from her. Amid her continuing rise, we talked with Megan Thee Stallion about having Q-Tip as a mentor, questions about her body and more.
Q-Tip was one of your earlier supporters, even comparing you to Nas. How did y’all connect? What was it like receiving praise like that from him? And what has been some of the most helpful advice he’s given you?
So, we got like a real mysterious e-mail, and the e-mail is one of those things where they say it’s from someone famous who wants to get into communication with you. And I’m like, “Momma that sound funny, I don’t think we should reply.” I don’t even know why my momma would reply but whatever made her reply I’m glad she did because it actually wound up being Q-Tip. I think they exchanged numbers so when they got on the phone and everything his assistant was like, “Oh, yes it’s Q-Tip and he loves Meg and whoopty whoop.” It just all started from there, and we were on the phone for like an hour. He is just so supportive and he loves the way I rap and he really rocked with me. So every time I go to New York I have to hang with him. He’s like a mentor. He’s just amazing. Everything that I put out I probably let him listen to it before I put it out just so I can hear him gas me so I know I’m on the right path. He’s a pioneer. So, the stamp of approval from him means a lot.
An older interview with DJ Smallz has resurfaced in which he asked you if your body developed earlier than most teens. What were you thinking when you heard the question? What was it like seeing people online come to your defense at how offensive the question was?
Honestly, the interview didn’t start like that. DJ Smallz breaks his interviews up into a bunch of segments. So in that clip of the interview he was basically asking if my body was fake because people on the Internet always have little slick things to say. I’m very comfortable with my body I’m very comfortable with myself. I did not take offense to anything he was saying. Like if anybody wants to know something about me I’m pretty much an open book. I could see how it was perceived that way but the interview is 30 minutes long and that was a two-minute clip of the interview. I feel like he was letting me address the rumors about my body being fake. So I really wasn’t taken aback by that part of the interview.
To me it was a misunderstanding. The Internet is so sensitive. So if you put a two-minute clip of the interview out nine times out of 10 no one’s gonna go watch the rest of the interview, and they’re just going to ride with what they saw. So in a lot of people’s minds they probably believe that that’s what the whole interview was about and it wasn’t.
What was it like seeing people online come to your defense at how offensive the question was?
I was very happy. I was like [laughing], “Well you know, don’t bite his head off but thank you hotties.” Obviously, it’s good to know that y’all will come get on somebody’s butt if they messing with me. I felt like I could see where women are coming from but that was not the whole interview. And the interview was a little older too, I was just coming up. I’m not giving it any excuse. I don’t think it should happen in anymore interviews at this point because I feel like I’m really done addressing if my body is real or fake.
Has this come up before besides in your interview with DJ Smallz?
Not really, honestly. People asked me you know little things here and there. But it’s not like a whole segment.
Sooo solange was dancing to big ole freak in the strip club last night in Houston 💙 I fainted
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) March 4, 2019
You tweeted about how Solange dancing to “Big Ole Freak.” what was your initial reaction?
Somebody told me to go look at her story and they’re like, “Girl, Solange in a club dancing to ‘Big Ole Freak.'” so I was like, “What! What are you talking about!” So I hurried up and went over there and it was just like a second. But you could hear that it’s “Big Ole Freak” and she’s at [G5 Primetime]. And I love DJ Eric. He’s like one of the most poppin’ DJs in Houston. And just all that culture in one room — like we got Megan Thee Stallion playing and Solange in a cowboy hat at G5 with DJ Eric. It was a lot.
She dropped her new album. What was your reaction to that?
Solange is definitely putting it on for the city right now and I really appreciate the cowgirl culture. I love wearing cowboy hats and things like that. So just to see her bring the Texas energy out. I feel like we can all shine right now.
It just seems like the timing is great for you right now.
I don’t know what God got going on for me but I just appreciate everything. You pray for so long for something good to happen and when it finally all starts lining up it’s just like, “Wow.”
Let’s start a thread of bad bitches that watch anime 🤷🏽♀️ drop your photo with your fave show pic.twitter.com/bQvAuiGPT3
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) March 8, 2019
A tweet of yours where you referenced Shoto Todoroki from My Hero Academia: Two Heroes recently went viral. You then went on to name Inuyasha, Bleach, and Attack on Titan as your favorite animes. When was the first time you remember watching anime?
Inuyasha has been out for so long. It might have been in sixth grade. It came on Adult Swim. So like staying up and watching it, it was just so interesting. I love the fact that Inuyasha is a love story within them going and fighting demons. Now we have like streaming services and everything so I can go back from the beginning. When I would catch it on Adult Swim, it wasn’t from the beginning so I didn’t know the story. So now I got to sit and watch it from the beginning and I’m almost at the end. I’m just really waiting for Inuyasha and Kigome to get together.
What is it about anime that really resonates with you? Because you use it sometimes as part of your identity and what made you infuse that with your image?
I like how it looks. I don’t know what it is about Japanese culture but the way that they portray their women. She’s like super strong or she’s like a super loving motherly wife type. But like the men in anime their main mission is going out and fighting because they’re trying to hold it down for a woman. That’s really what it be like and I really love that. Like there’s always a reason why these people are going so hard and nine times out of ten it’s all because of a lady. I also like to see the struggle from beginning to end. Like what did this character have to go through to grow into what they became? Maybe they getting ass-whooped in one episode but by the end of it they’ve defeated everybody and now they’ve leveled up so much. And I feel like I can relate to that in real life.
So there’s like a sense of progress within it?
Right. It’s like you get to see a character come from nothing to being the best. And I really like that.
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So if you were going to a cosplay convention who would you go as?
Todoraki, definitely. He’s my favorite. He’s like fire and ice. I feel like that’s me. A lot of people don’t know this but I really like the game Mortal Kombat and Mileena is my favorite character. For Halloween, I wore a Mileena costume and I made all of my friends go buy Mortal Kombat costumes too. But there was super bad weather in Houston that day and we didn’t even get to wear the costumes. I’m trying to figure out where we can wear them now. I might even pop up and wear it to a show.
You’ve done some notable freestyles including “Big Poppa” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” What are your thoughts about freestyling, especially considering you’ve participated in Houston cyphers before?
I feel like I just genuinely love music. I genuinely love to rap so any time I get a chance for somebody to hear me rap I’ma take it. And I just really feel like when you have that type of talent or when you have that type of passion with something just showcase it. When I grew up, my mama put me on to [The Notorious B.I.G.]. She put me on to a lot of old school rap. So me listening to these things, I thought when you were rapping you were supposed to go out and rap rap. I’m not saying everybody got to be a freestyler. I’m not saying everybody got to be a battle rapper or just a super MC. Music is supposed to make you feel good. So I’m trying to make people feel good about it and at the same time showing them what I could really do.
What would be your favorite beat or what has been your favorite beat to freestyle over?
Definitely Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Get Money” and [Tupac and Snoop Dogg’s] “2 of Amerikazs Most Wanted.”
How did you kind of hone and strengthen your freestyling skills? Because I see more and more people are attacking you on social media.
When I’m writing I’m not physically writing it down with a pen and paper. I’m saying stuff over and over again in my head or just talking out loud. That’s just the process.
— Nick (@nicksawaboy) March 8, 2019
I saw in a recent interview that you talked about an album coming out in April. How much can you tell me about it?
So I don’t want to call it an album because I feel like that’s a big commitment. But it’s definitely a project and it’s gonna be amazing. It’s like a different persona. This is “Hot Girl Meg.” The last person was “Tina Snow.” I’m really excited for everybody to meet her.
In your music you’re very sexually liberated, very honest, very candid which is not something that I think that black Southern women are allowed to do all the time. When you were figuring out what your image was gonna be, was that something that you considered and was it a hard decision to make?
No. When I started rapping it was no game plan behind it. This is my personality. This is how I am. This is what I’ma rap about. I never wanted anybody to tell me what I could and couldn’t say. Nobody in my life has ever told me what I could and couldn’t say. I always heard, “women should act like this, women should have this type of etiquette and blah blah blah.” I’m not saying I’m not a classy lady or anything but I’ve always had a potty mouth. I’ve always carried myself in a good way but I’ve always said what’s on my mind too. So I feel like I should be able to do that with my music. So this is just me naturally being me. No characters, no gimmicks — this is just natural.
I really just want women, in general, to just be comfortable in their skin and know that the first person that you need to please when you wake up in the morning is yourself. Because if I wasn’t doing that I probably wouldn’t be me and I probably wouldn’t be rapping in the way that I’m rapping.
DaLyah Jones was born and raised a country girl behind the “Pine Curtain” of East Texas. She is currently a reporter and assistant producer for All Things Considered at NPR’s Austin affiliate, KUT 90.5. She also works on side projects like her independent podcast Two&Fro, which speaks on issues and trends related to the contemporary black southern experience. One day, she hopes to run her own media organization to further validate and provide solution-based reporting for marginalized communities in the South.