Our Take: Megan Thee Stallion Swiftly Claims Dominance in the Rap World on Debut LP, “Good News.”

Good News - Megan Thee Stallion

Josh's Take

8 Music Quality
7 Content Originality
9 Production
8 Memorability
7 Lyricism
7 Sonic Diversity
8 Arranging
‘Good News’ preserves the fiery, explicit atmosphere of Megan Thee Stallion’s recent Cardi B duet while also further showcasing her MC skills and collaborative abilities.
Stream: ‘Good News’ – Megan Thee Stallion

Cardi B sure has a knack for helping up-and-coming artists secure mainstream success. First, in 2018, “I Like It” transformed featured Latin artists Bad Bunny and J. Balvin into big stars. And this year, only a couple months after “WAP” unsettled audiences in ways few recent hip-hop songs have managed, the other female MC rapping alongside Cardi is now poised to climb to even higher heights with the release of her debut album, Good News (November 20 via 1501 Certified Entertainment / 300 Entertainment).

Good News - Megan Thee Stallion
Good News – Megan Thee Stallion

That “other female MC” is none other than Megan Thee Stallion. Like Cardi – minus the strip-dancing side gigs – Megan Pete of Houston, Texas gradually made a name for herself by means of a string of acclaimed EP’s and mixtapes, two of the most impactful of which were last year’s Fever and this past March’s Suga. With all that in the bag, it’s now time for the make-or-break career moment that debut LP’s represent for many artists. Given the quality of Good News – not to mention her recent inclusion on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list – it’s safe to assume that “break” isn’t the one of those two options to be worried about.

However you reacted to “WAP” is probably a strong indicator of what you’ll think of the lyrical content of this new Megan Thee Stallion record.

Some may call it “sexual positivity;” others may prefer “crude, gross-out innuendo.” But everybody should be fully prepared to hear Megan send out straightforward requests to “give me big head like IT / Lick, lick, lick me ’til I scream,” and to also make it plain that “I would never trip about any old dickI want a ***** with some money and a long dick.

There’s a solid dose of sociopolitical commentary here, as well – notably when the rapper immediately joins the #justiceforbreonnataylor team on the opening track – but even that winds up becoming erotic in nature, as she implores us to “invest in this pussy, boy, support Black business.”

Megan Thee Stallion © 2020
Megan Thee Stallion © 2020

Yet sex raps aren’t the only things that characterize this album. Megan’s impeccable flow is on proud display throughout, and she also makes room for a decent amount of melodic singing. “Don’t Rock Me To Sleep” is perhaps the finest instance of this: could there possible be a more effortlessly catchy chorus than “Blah-blah-blah, la-la-la, if you wanna leave, then bye, bye, bye”? And she also reminds the fellas to step their game up, only a tad less explicitly this time around: “don’t rock me to sleep – skip to the part that you really mean.”

Another defining element of Good News is just how sample-heavy it is, at a time when sampling in hip-hop seems to have gone on a steady decline. Megan quickly affirms that love for Biggie across the rap community will never die on album opener “Shots Fired,” which samples Big Poppa’s “Who Shot Ya?” while also addressing the shooting incident she was involved in this past summer. Much later in the track listing, she pays her respects to another deceased ‘90s rap icon with the Eazy-E-honoring “Girls in the Hood,” in which the titular females are “knowin’ nothin’ in life, but I gotta get rich.” Other effective samples surface throughout, perhaps the most infectious of which is the reworking of “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Circles)” by Jazmine Sullivan on “Circles.”

Megan Thee Stallion © 2020
Megan Thee Stallion © 2020

Finally, the numerous guest artists featured on Good News grant the album plenty of character. A good number of Megan’s fellow rappers make their mark – Young Thug on the single “Don’t Stop” among them – as do the pair of female singers who surface here. Given how much SZA is known to (ahem) celebrate her sexual liberty in her music, she winds up being a natural companion to Megan on “Freaky Girls.” And the remix of “Savage,” which brings aboard the ever-dominant Beyoncé, has got to be one of the most hard-hitting moments on the whole record, with both H-Town natives entering “sassy, moody, nasty” mode to scintillating effects.

In a matter of months, Megan Thee Stallion has gone from the less-famous half of the duo behind “WAP” to the commanding leading force behind Good News, a thoroughly impressive and entertaining full-length effort. We can expect a lot more from the Texas rhyme-spitter now that she’s solidified her status as an in-control mainstream MC.

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Good News - Megan Thee Stallion

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