One thing Megan Thee Stallion wasn't wrong about was being a Hot Girl!
She has been running through the music industry like a tomb raider since debuting on the scene in 2015. The 26-year-old rapper, born Megan Pete, has been an unstoppable force, starting the Hot Girl Movement with 2019's chart-topping anthem "Hot Girl Summer" (featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign). Since then, she hasn't even let the COVID-19 pandemic slow her down. She broke the internet with collaborations with two of the industry's hottest artists, delivered a fiery socially-distanced performance and began racking up trophies, including three Grammy awards. (At the March 14 show, she took home Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.)
The Houston rapper, who earned the nickname "Thee Stallion" in high school due to her 5-foot-10 height and curvaceous figure, is no overnight sensation, though. She first gained attention in 2015 on Youtube as a part of the Houston Cypher, an informal gathering where rappers showcase their freestyling skills, letting her presence be known in her signature daisy dukes and crop top as the only female rapper. The attention grew even more a year later when she released "Stalli Freestyle" on her YouTube channel.
In interviews, Megan has said she's been secretly rapping since she was seven, but she wanted her skills to be in tip-top shape before she showcased them to anyone in fear of negative comments. It wasn't until 2013, while attending Prairie View A&M University, that Megan revealed her rap skills to friends and got the courage to start uploading freestyles that showed off her arrogant and sexy flow.
After gaining some internet notoriety, Megan signed with indie label 1501 Certified Entertainment, run by former MLB star Carl Crawford, in early 2018. Wanting people to know she was here to stay, she quickly dropped her EP Tina Snow—named after late UGK rapper Pimp C's alter ego Tony Snow—months later. The EP gained major streaming numbers and earned her first spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with the smash hit, "Big Ole Freak." With her star power on the rise, she followed through with her Fever mixtape, with features from Juicy J and Da Baby, in May 2019.
Always unfiltered and direct with her lines, fans can't help but notice the southern influences in Megan's music as she rides the beat with her effortless delivery. One thing that makes her stand out amongst her peers isn't just her brazen lyrics about her own sexual conquests, but the way she uses those seductive and reckless lines to empower women.
However, it may be surprising to learn her biggest role models are male rappers. She has mentioned the aforementioned Pimp C, Notorious B.I.G. and rap group Three 6 Mafia as some of her biggest inspirations. "When I'm listening to them, I'm like, 'This would be really live reversed,'" she explained in a 2018 interview with The Fader. "I really feel like if men can talk this much s--t, women can too."
Although she draws major inspiration from male stars, she notes her late mother Holly Thomas, a well-known local Houston rapper under the stage name Holly-Wood who passed away from brain cancer in March 2019, as her biggest inspiration.
Megan introduced the term "Hot Girl' to fans on Tina Snow in 2018 but the catchphrase didn't take on a life of its own until 2019 when it became its own movement. If you aren't a resident hottie—Megan's name for her fans—though, you might wonder what exactly a Hot Girl is. No worries! E! News caught up with the Hot Girl herself in 2019, and she explained: "Your actions make you a 'hot girl.' You have to be someone who is like energetic, the life of the party, just really nice, you know what I'm saying? You have to be able to put that confidence in other people and get along with all the girls and just like have a good time. Just unapologetically you. You just have to be lit."
Another element that makes her stick out amongst her peers is she's already landed the Holy Trinity of collaborations. After teaming with Nicki for "Hot Girl Summer" last year, she leveled up in 2020 by first remixing "Savage," her TikTok viral hit off 2020 EP Suga, with none other than the Queen Bee of Houston—Beyoncé. The remix became her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. She quickly earned her second when she teamed with Cardi B on the record-smashing "WAP" in August.
When speaking with E! News about her then-upcoming collaboration with Nicki, as well as who else she would be interested in collaborating with in the future, the entertainer essentially manifested her two later collaborations. "I love Beyoncé. We're both from Houston and she's just amazing," Megan said. "She's like the hardest working woman ever. I'm, like, taking notes from her."
And although Nicki and Cardi may not be the best of friends, the Houston hottie didn't feel there was a need to take sides. "I feel like we need to stop trying to compare them," she said. "I love both of them, so I would definitely like to collaborate with Cardi, too." And that she did.
Despite her swift rise to stardom, Megan is still making room in her new life for college. The rapper is currently enrolled in online courses at Texas Southern University, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in health administration. And her inspiration to finish strong is the same person who inspired her to rap in the first place—her mother. "I want to get my degree because I really want my mom to be proud," she told People.
Even though she boasts "Hot girl summer I ain't f--king with no drama" in her lyrics, the rapper was not exempt from drama over the summer. In early 2020, she filed a restraining order against her label and Crawford after they instructed the distributor of her records, 300 Entertainment, not to release or distribute any of her new music.
Then, on July 12th, the rapper was shot at, suffering gunshot wounds to her feet. The internet speculated for weeks over who pulled the trigger until she revealed on Instagram Live it was fellow rapper Tory Lanez. (He has since pleaded not guilty to assault and gun charges related to the shooting.)
Regardless of Megan's misfortunes, one thing is certain—and it's that no one can extinguish her flame. Not only has she racked up some impressive collaborations in a short amount of time, but she's earned accolades too.
In her short career, she has won a Billboard Women in Music Powerhouse Award, two BET Hip Hop Awards, two BET Awards—where she gave Mad Max-themed socially distanced performance—and one MTV Video Music Award. At 2020's ceremony, she took home the Best Hip-Hop trophy. And at the 2021 Grammys, she teased more to come: "Y'all just better be ready for 'Hot Girl Summer Part 2.'"
Yep, she definitely wasn't joking when she rapped, "I'm a hot girl, I do hot s--t."
This story was originally published on Friday, August 28, 2020 at 6 p.m. PT.