Most people would call the weather in Austin, Texas, on March 15 unseasonably cold. There was a chill in the air, and people looked as though they were trying to stand as close together as possible, just to generate some body heat. As hundreds of people stood outside the Fader Fort during SXSW, they patiently waited for Houston’s Megan Thee Stallion to heat up the stage. But just two years ago, the Texas Southern University student was barely a blip on anyone’s radar, until a viral video appeared online showcasing her freestyling skills. Some might say that Megan, born Megan Pete, was born to rap, especially since her mother, Holly-Wood, was also a rapper. Megan said she would spend countless hours listening to her mom and started writing her own stuff at an early age. “I knew I wanted to be a rapper when I was, like, 5. My mom was a rapper. I would go to the studio with her, and that definitely showed me I can do this, I wanna do this. I remember my first time ever listening to rappers like Pimp C and Biggie, and being like, ‘All this would sound super cool if a girl was saying it,’ so I gotta go do this,” Megan, 24, told ESSENCE. Megan Thee Stallion – Big Ole Freak – Live at The FADER FORT 2019 (Austin, TX) And just like those of Pimp C and Biggie, Megan’s lyrics aren’t for the faint of heart. They are just as braggadocious as her male counterparts’ and exude sex and body positivity. Megan isn’t afraid to rap about sex, about being a strong woman, all while shaking what her momma gave her. There’s a reason she’s called a stallion. In a world of build-a-bodies, Megan’s is all naturale. In a recent video clip, a DJ asked her about a revered subject: her body. “Did you develop early? Have you always had this body?” DJ Smallz asked Megan in the now deleted video. Most people thought the question was cringe-worthy; it had Twitter debating whether misogyny in hip-hop will always exist. “Men almost NEVER get asked these kinds of questions. The blatant sexism is showing, and the interviewer should be ashamed of themselves,” Natalie Mariaher tweeted. “She’s a rapper—talk about her music, her work ethic etc! Her body is not the only thing going for her.” But when asked if she was offended by the question, Megan shook it off. “I’m a pretty open person, and very little can embarrass me. So him asking me about my body is not something that is a surprise. It’s been happening all my life. I’ve been like this, like, forever. But honestly, that clip was not the whole thing. They took a clip from it and it just went crazy,” Megan said. “I didn’t get offended. Like, if the whole interview was that, I would’ve been like, ‘I’m getting out of here,’ you know? But I wasn’t offended. I don’t let stuff like that get to me.” As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Megan is making sure she rocks with people who rock with her. And she keeps her circle tight. When asked if she’s had issues with other men in the industry, she said, “I never had an issue with a male trying to make me feel some type of way because I’m a woman, you know?” As the first woman signed to 300 Entertainment’s roster, Megan is trying to make sure she has staying power; and if the success of her mixtape Tina Snow (appropriately paying homage to Pimp C’s alias Tony Snow) isn’t an indicator of what the Houston native has in store for her fans, then we don’t know what is. When Megan finally arrived onstage during the Fader Fort event, she was decked out in a black cowboy hat and black corset and gave the crowd the “real hot-girl s—” they were so anxiously waiting for. With her effortless flow and Southern accent, the crowd, young and old, went wild when she finally performed “Big Ole Freak.” And it definitely brought the temperature up a few notches. Backstage after her performance, Megan had her girls with her, including fellow rappers Maliibu Miitch and Yung Baby Tate. The women hugged one another, and Megan even signed Maliibu’s butt cheek for fun. You could tell the sisterly love between the women was real, and it showed that women in hip-hop don’t need beef to sell records. “I feel like since, like, forever, it has only been, like, one female rapper at a time. And naturally, women are competitive. So I feel like, without beef, hip-hop probably wouldn’t even be what it is, so it’s good to have, like, a little friendly competition here and there,” Megan said. “I feel like eventually, we’ll all realize that we’re not trying to cross into each other’s lane. Just because we might be rapping about some of the same things, we’re not doing it in the same way. There’s enough room for all of us to eat. So as soon as we can get that together, then we’ll be all right.” Although she is currently juggling her music career as well as graduation, slated for the fall, she still finds time to “fangirl” over some of the artists she wants to work with in the future. And of course, there’s a fellow Houstonian in the mix. “I wanna work with my girl Maliibu Miitch. I love Maliibu. I definitely wanna work with Beyoncé, Rihanna. I’m a huge fan of Rihanna and Beyoncé, so that’s like my dream collab,” she said. Megan’s fan base runs the gamut, and just as Beyoncé and Rihanna are considered role models for young girls, there are some young “hotties” (what Megan calls her fans) out there who look up to Megan as well. And she realizes the responsibility that comes with being considered a role model. “Like, [I’m] not gonna say, ‘Get out here and do everything I’m talking about.’ But you get the message of the songs: Be confident; don’t let a man try to run your life. You run his life. Do you know what I’m saying? Just be free; that’s just really what I like to support. Get your degree if you want to. I’m not saying you got to, but I’m just saying, like, it’d be a good idea to do that,” she stated. Speaking of degrees, the health care administration major plans on using her degree once the music business is over and done with. “I really want to open up some assisted-living facilities in Houston. So when I get done with college and everything, I’ll have … made so much money from my music, I will be able to pay for what I really wanna open up,” she said. When you spend any amount of time with Megan, you realize she’s no gimmick or one-trick pony. She’s definitely a thoroughbred—a stallion, if you will. Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album, Fever, will be released on May 17. TOPICS: