Megan Thee Stallion signed to 300 Entertainment in 2018 where she released the mixtape Fever (2019), the extended play Suga (2020), and her debut studio album, Good News (2020); all of which peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. Her single "Savage (Remix)" featuring Beyoncé, and her feature on Cardi B's single "WAP", both released in 2020, each reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, with the latter providing Megan with her first number one in several other countries.
Megan Jovon Ruth Pete was born on February 15, 1995 in San Antonio, Texas, and her mother, Holly Aleece Thomas, immediately moved to Houston after her birth. Thomas rapped under the name "Holly-Wood" and would bring her daughter with her to recording sessions instead of putting her in daycare. Pete was raised in the South Park neighborhood of Houston, before moving with her mother to Pearland, Texas at age 14, where she lived until she turned 18. Pete began writing raps at age 16. When she told her mother that she wanted to rap, Holly required that Pete wait until she was 21 to pursue rapping as a career. Her mother commented that her lyrics were too sexually suggestive for her young age. Pete attended Pearland High School and graduated in 2013. Her father died during her freshman year of high school.
In 2013, while Pete was a student at Prairie View A&M University, she began uploading videos of herself freestyling on social media. A clip of Pete battling against male opponents in a "cypher" went viral. The exposure helped Pete gain a larger digital presence and following on social media. She garnered fans by posting her freestyles on her Instagram while in college. She refers to her fans as "hotties" and credits her hyperactive fan base for her early success.
She adopted the stage name "Megan Thee Stallion" because she was called a "stallion" in adolescence due to her height (5′10″ or 178 cm) and "thick" body frame: voluptuous and statuesque women in the South are colloquially called stallions.
2016–2017: Early beginnings
In April 2016, Megan Thee Stallion released her first single "Like a Stallion". This was followed by the small SoundCloud-exclusive mixtapes Rich Ratchet (2016), and Megan Mix (2017). In September 2017, Megan Thee Stallion made her professional solo debut with the commercially released EP Make It Hot. The EP's 2017 single "Last Week in HTx" became her most successful single during this time, amassing several million views on YouTube. In 2017, Megan Thee Stallion released the song "Stalli (Freestyle)", as a rework of rapper XXXTentacion's "Look at Me!".
Around this time, Megan Thee Stallion auditioned to be a cast member on Love & Hip Hop: Houston; however, the proposed spin-off of the Love & Hip Hop franchise was postponed indefinitely in June 2016.
2018–2019: Tina Snow and Fever
In early 2018, Megan Thee Stallion signed with 1501 Certified Entertainment, an independent label in Houston run by T. Farris and owned by former baseball player Carl Crawford. The first female rapper signed to the label, she then performed at SXSW in March 2018. In June 2018, Megan Thee Stallion released a 10-song extended play titled Tina Snow under the label. The EP was named after her alter ego, "Tina Snow," who she describes as "a more raw version" of herself.Tina Snow was positively received by critics. Eric Torres of Pitchfork wrote: "she provided plenty of freak anthems with quotable lyrics to wield against ain't-shit men". She stated in an interview with Mic that she is not afraid to talk about sexuality, nor does she feel boxed in to either the "intelligent" or "freak" dichotomy. Nandi Howard of The Fader referred to her ability to rap with "electrifying pace and precision". In November 2018, Megan Thee Stallion announced that she had signed with 300 Entertainment, making her the first female rapper to be signed by the label. It was during this time that she was scheduled to support Australian rapper Iggy Azalea on her Bad Girls Tour; however, the tour was later cancelled.
On January 22, 2019, Megan Thee Stallion released "Big Ole Freak" as a single from her EP, Tina Snow, and also filmed a music video for the track. The single, "Is It Love This Time", is sampled throughout the single. On April 15, "Big Ole Freak" charted at number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 giving Megan Thee Stallion her first chart entry, with it later peaking at number 65 on the Hot 100.Fever, her second mixtape, was released on May 17, 2019. The album received critical acclaim and landed on several year-end critics lists, with Paper calling it the best album of 2019. Taylor Crumpton of Pitchfork rated the album 8/10 and wrote in the review, "Megan's delivery of perfectly executed bars are comparable to successions from a fully automatic machine gun; a carefully studied aim of fiery stanzas that could only be carried by a rapper with extensive knowledge of the genre's early practices of battle rap." On May 21, 2019, she released the music video for the opening album track, "Realer", which is inspired by the blaxploitation film style. On June 20, 2019, she was announced to be one of eleven artists included in the 12th edition of XXL's "Freshman Class". Her freestyle in the cypher was praised by music critics. In July 2019, Chance The Rapper released his debut studio album, The Big Day, and Megan Thee Stallion was featured on the track, "Handsome". On August 2, 2019, A Black Lady Sketch Show premiered on HBO; the show uses Megan Thee Stallion's song "Hot Girl" in the opening title sequence.
Stallion performing live at the Billboard Women in Music Awards in 2019
On March 6, 2020, she released the EP, Suga, against the wishes of 1501, after a judge granted a temporary restraining order against the label. That same month, the song "Savage" from the EP went viral on TikTok, when popular user Keara Wilson used it for a dance challenge video, which racked up 15.7 million views and 2.4 million likes as of March 20, 2020. A remix featuring Beyoncé was released on April 29, 2020. The song became Megan thee Stallion's first top 10 hit in the United States shortly after the remix's release, eventually becoming her first chart topper in the U.S. "Savage" also helped boost Suga's sales, propelling it up to number 7 on the Billboard 200.Proceeds from the song went to Houston nonprofit Bread of Life which provides disaster relief for residents affected by COVID-19. Megan Thee Stallion was also judge on the HBO Maxvoguing competition show Legendary which debuted in May 2020. She released the song "Girls in the Hood" on June 26, 2020, before featuring on Cardi B's single "WAP" and appearing in its music video in August 2020. "WAP" became her second number-one single in the U.S., breaking the record for the most streams for a song in its first week of release in the U.S. (93 million).
On November 13, 2020, Megan Thee Stallion announced the release of her debut studio album Good News, which was released on November 20, 2020. The release of the album also coincided with its fourth single "Body" as well as its music video. The album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and at number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with over 100,000 album-equivalent units sold. On January 14, 2021, Megan Thee Stallion was featured on the remix of Ariana Grande's single "34+35", the second single from her sixth studio album Positions alongside American singer and rapper Doja Cat. A music video for the remix was later released on February 12, 2021.
Megan Thee Stallion is known for her confidence, sensuality, and explicit lyrics. She presents her sexuality throughout her lyrics, videos, and live performances. In an interview with Pitchfork she stated, "It's not just about being sexy, it's about being confident and me being confident in my sexuality." On her Texas rap origins, she told Rolling Stone, "I don't feel like we ever really had a female rapper come from Houston or Texas and shut shit down. So that's where I'm coming from."
She cites Lil' Kim, Beyoncé, Pimp C, The Notorious B.I.G., Three 6 Mafia, Nicki Minaj, and her mother as her biggest influences. Of two she has said "I like Pimp C's cockiness. He makes me feel so confident and he makes me feel so cool. So definitely when people are listening to my music I want them to feel like that too. Biggie inspires me too. I love his wordplay." She credits Nicki Minaj as an inspiration, saying, "Nicki, she was here before us, so this is who we had to look at, at this time. So, definitely Nicki has been an inspiration to me, and I'm pretty sure she's been an inspiration to a lot of women in hip hop right now." In her acceptance speech at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards where she was joined onstage by Beyoncé to collect an award for their collaboration, she said: "Ever since I was little, I was like, 'you know what? One day, I'm gonna grow up and I'm gonna be like the rap Beyoncé.' That was definitely my goal. And I remember I went to the rodeo for the first time and I saw Destiny's Child perform, and I was like, 'yes, I'm 'bout to go hard, I love her work ethic, I love the way she is, I love the way she carries herself.' And my mama would always be like, 'Megan, what would Beyoncé do?' And I'm always like, 'you know what? What would Beyoncé do, but make it a little ratchet.'" She also credits Q-Tip as her mentor.
In multiple interviews, Megan Thee Stallion has referred to herself as "Tina Snow", one of her alter egos and also the name of her debut EP, Tina Snow. It was influenced by Pimp C's alias Tony Snow, and has similar confidence and an unapologetic sexually dominant delivery. "Hot Girl Meg" is another alter ego who is described as embodying Megan Thee Stallion's carefree and outgoing side, which she compares to a "college, party girl." She stated that she introduced "Hot Girl Meg" on her EP, Fever. She has also referred to herself as "Thee Hood Tyra Banks".
Megan originated the viral catchphrase "hot girl summer" on social media. It is a derivative of another of her most-known catchphrases, "hot girl", also derived from "real hot girl shit". She first used the phrase in a tweet on April 14, 2018. It later appeared on the Fever album cover, which read, "She's thee HOT GIRL and she's bringing THEE HEAT." She defined the term as "women and men being unapologetically them, just having a good-ass time, hyping up their friends, doing you." Megan Thee Stallion officially trademarked the term "hot girl summer" in September 2019 after applying for it in July of that year. A song of the same name was released on August 9, 2019.
In addition to "hot girl" and "hot girl summer", Megan Thee Stallion is known for her signature ad-lib which involves sticking her tongue out, creating a "creaky", audible "agh" or "blah" sound. In August 2019, Twitter created an official emoji for this tongue symbol which could be spawned directly after the hashtag "#megantheestallion". This symbol also inspired the cover art of her EP Suga which was revealed in March 2020.
Megan Thee Stallion contributed $15,400 worth of Thanksgiving turkeys and helped hand them out to 1,050 households in need at the Houston Food Bank Portwall Pantry in November 2019.
Megan Thee Stallion mentions being part Creole in her songs "Cocky AF" and "Freak Nasty" as well as in a tweet in September 2017.
Her mother, Holly Thomas, died in March 2019 from a longstanding cancerous brain tumor, and her grandmother died in the same month. In addition to acting as Megan's manager, Thomas influenced her decision to study health administration and also helped foster her wish to establish assisted living facilities in her hometown of Houston. After having previously taken time off school, she resumed her studies at Texas Southern University in health administration, where she was a third-year student as of 2019.
Tory Lanez, who was charged with shooting Megan in October 2020, pictured in 2016
On July 15, 2020, Megan Thee Stallion stated that she had suffered gunshot wounds and that she had undergone surgery to remove the bullets. Her statement countered an earlier TMZ report that she had injured her foot on broken glass three days prior when she was in a car with rapper Tory Lanez and an unidentified woman; the car was pulled over by police and Lanez was arrested on gun charges following a vehicle search. Megan was subjected to ridicule as many jokes about the shooting circulated online. On July 27, 2020, she revealed that she was shot in both feet and denounced the rumors and jokes in an Instagram Live session, where she also recounted the incident and cried. The following month, Megan claimed that Lanez was the person who shot her, saying that "I didn't tell the police what happened immediately right there because I didn't want to die." On September 25, 2020, Lanez released his fifth album, Daystar, in which he addresses the shooting on nearly every song, and denies that he shot Megan, while also claiming she and her team were "trying to frame" him. The same day, in a statement to Variety, Megan's attorney, Alex Spiro, claimed Lanez's representatives had since attempted to launch a "smear campaign" against Megan to discredit her allegations. Spiro stated: "We have been made aware of manipulated text messages and invented email accounts that have been disseminated to the media in a calculated attempt to peddle a false narrative about the events that occurred". Lanez's team denied this, saying that they would investigate who was behind the fake emails and would take appropriate action. Megan Thee Stallion would also later reveal that she had been offered money by Lanez and his team to keep quiet on the issue following the incident.
On October 8, 2020, Lanez was charged with shooting Megan Thee Stallion by L.A. County prosecutors. An arraignment for Lanez was scheduled on October 13, however, it was delayed to November 18, after Lanez's attorney requested a continuance. A protective order has since been issued against Lanez; he is to stay at least 100 yards away from Megan and not contact her. He was also ordered to surrender any guns he owns. In an op-ed for The New York Times, published on October 13, 2020, Megan addressed the shooting further, writing: "Black women are still constantly disrespected and disregarded in so many areas of life. I was recently the victim of an act of violence by a man. After a party, I was shot twice as I walked away from him. We were not in a relationship. Truthfully, I was shocked that I ended up in that place". If convicted, Lanez may face a maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in state prison. He pleaded not guilty to assault with a semiautomatic handgun in late November 2020. In the same month, Megan Thee Stallion released her debut studio album, Good News, on which the album opener is the diss track "Shots Fired" directed towards Lanez. The song gained acclaim, with many critics noting that it samples and interpolates the 1995 song "Who Shot Ya?" by The Notorious B.I.G.. Megan Thee Stallion also addressed the shooting in her op-ed for The New York Times titled "Why I Speak Up for Black Women".