Megan Thee Stallion’s newest single “B.I.T.C.H” kicks off the new year on a strong note. Megan is among the queens of female rap in the 21st century. Alongside Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and City Girls, she has stood out as minding her own business and concentrating on her own, unique hustle. Megan rose to icon status with “Real Hot Girl S**t” featuring DaBaby and that title became a phenomenon on “Hot Girl Summer”, which defined summer 2019 for a lot of listeners. “Hot Girl Summer” became a trend encouraging female empowerment, individuality and as a push back against male superiority.
So, after defining an entire summer season, did Megan uphold her reputation?
The answer is she couldn’t have done a better job carrying the “real hot girl” energy into the new year.
The chorus “I’d rather be a B-I-T-C-H (I’d rather keep it real with ya)/ ‘Cause that’s what you gon’ call me when I’m trippin’ anyway/ You know you can’t control me, baby, you need a real one in your life” speaks to Megan’s entire brand; she is an independent, proud female. This chorus stands out among her traditional fast-paced sound.
The song itself is a slowed down, refined version of Megan. The lyrics are thoughtful and audible, which are two impressive feats considering the speed and extravagance of some of her other tunes. “B.I.T.C.H.” had a clear message: that females are painted in the worst possible way when they challenge age-old gender norms. Megan raps, “You say you want respect, well, treat me how you wanna be treated/ You told me keep it real, but you don’t practice what you preachin’/ You want me to blow your phone up and come a-lookin’ for you ‘til I find ya.” By rapping about her experience with hypocrisy in a relationship, Megan draws attention to the grander theme in the music industry: that male artists can get away with more controversy and more risque lyrics and actions than women can.
Female rappers often get a bad reputation because of their overt sexuality, yet Megan’s effort to reclaim this stereotype as an asset to the music industry is admirable. She raps, “But it’s 2020, I ain’t finna argue ‘bout twerkin’,” which speaks to the backlash female rappers get for being musicians as well as twerkers or exotic dancers.
Megan is a knock-out artist, not just for musical talent but because she helps diversify our perception of women in the music industry. She is unique in the sense that she owns her sexual promiscuity while encouraging other females to do the same. For decades the music industry has praised male sexuality, male party culture and preached female submission and etiquette. Megan offers a countermovement to a male-dominant genre, which makes her a stand-out artist in a day and age in which standing out is very hard to do.
The single cover is another way Megan reclaims the word “b***h.” The cover features a Doberman, flashing sharp canine teeth, seemingly ready to attack. “B***h” is so commonly used a derogatory term towards females, yet Megan takes this and turns it into something akin to a term of endearment. The Doberman reflects how a “bitch” can be powerful, strong and even intimidating. This wise choice of album art demonstrates Megan’s commitment to redefining females’ role in the rap game.
Overall, this single leaves me hopeful for the future of women in rap. Megan’s slowed down style on “B.I.T.C.H.” opens a flood gate of opportunity for her as an artist. This single is the perfect balance of powerful lyrics, a good beat and a meaningful album cover.