It’s been said that there is no such thing as an overnight success. That’s true. No star, from the brightest pop icon to the bubbling underground rap spark plug, ever achieved their status without a healthy amount of behind-the-scenes, sometimes unappreciated effort and determination to get their career off the ground.
However, a star’s upward trajectory can drastically shift in a moment; with a viral meme or the right hit single or co-sign, the steady, slow, slog to the heights of pop culture awareness can instantly accelerate — in what seems like a blink of an eye, a relative unknown can suddenly be everywhere you look.
That seems to be what’s happening with Texas rap upstart Megan Thee Stallion, who was just months ago toiling away, releasing solid but mostly unremarked-upon freestyles, mixtapes, and singles to Soundcloud and Youtube and has suddenly become the rap star du jour within the last few months — indeed, with the last few weeks.
Consider that in 2018, Megan — real name Megan Pete, 25-years-old, from Houston, Texas — released four music videos to her official Youtube page and as of this writing her latest video, which was only released a week ago, is on pace to surpass all their individual view totals by this time next week and all of their view totals combined by this time next month.
Megan is here, now. It’s time to get familiar.
Raised by her mother Holly Thomas in Houston, Megan was exposed to rap life early on, as Thomas, who rapped herself under the name Holly-Wood, brought Megan with her to the studio. A conscientious mom-ager, Holly also pushed Megan to delay her own rap dreams until she was 21-years-old, hoping she’d be better able to handle the responsibility.
It worked. Megan’s raps, polished and sharpened by freestyle battles at Prairie View A&M University, are as crisp as any 10-year veteran’s, helping her to gain recognition not for gimmicks or her looks, but for her flow, wordplay, and aggressive confidence, all of which are on full display in her 2018 EP, Tina Snow.
The EP, which featured singles like “Freak Nasty,” “Make A Bag,” “Neva,” and “Big Ole Freak,” helped the burgeoning star secure a deal with 300 Entertainment in November, making her the label’s first female rapper. Since then, she’s been on a promotional tear, dropping off eye-grabbing freestyles that have been shared so much on social media, she’d be a viral star just from spitting bars.
However, as with any potential star, her skills, while remaining the biggest attraction, have been supplemented by a social media game to rival any former Vine comedian. Her Big Ole Freak Challenge has fans twerking it out to her latest single at gas stations seeking to emulate her own feat of posterior gymnastics. As with any viral challenge, the more people do it, the more people want to do it, spreading her bombastic bars further with each upload.
She also enjoyed an outburst of attention when her invitation to start a thread of “bad bitches that watch anime” extended to the furthest reaches of Twitter, likely cross-pollinating her existing fan base with those of shows like Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball, Inuyasha, and Naruto (while also unfortunately highlighting that sexist gatekeeping is still alive and well in both music and geeky hobbyist communities).
With her latest batch of freestyles catching fire with fans of bars, including appearances on Beats 1 Radio, Power 106’s La Leakers, and Charlie Sloth’s Fire In The Booth, her Big Ole Freak Challenge capturing the twerkaholic crowd, and her anime thread drawing attention to both, Megan Thee Stallion is quickly approaching critical mass, a perfect storm of online attention driving her real world aspirations.
So when she has her true breakout sometime in the very near future, don’t call her an overnight success. She’s been working for a minute. What we’re seeing is what happens when hard work and talent meet good luck and great timing. That’s the real recipe for success and as of now, Megan Thee Stallion is cooking with gas.