If you are looking for some new feel good music, tracks to hype you up during finals season grind, a pick-me-up amid this rollercoaster of a year—or all three—look no further than “Good News.” Last week on Friday, Nov. 20, rapper, songwriter and self-identified “Hot Girl Coach” Megan Thee Stallion dropped her debut studio album, including 17 songs and coveted features ranging from rappers DaBaby, City Girls and Young Thug, to soulful singers like SZA and Beyoncé. Earlier this year, Megan had intended to release her EP “Suga” in March as an album, but had complications with her label, so “Good News” will be her first studio album in her four years as a hip-hop artist.
“Good News” comes at the end of an especially wild and tumultuous year for Megan Thee Stallion. In March, her remix of “Savage” with Beyoncé landed her first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is a time capsule to the early days of quarantine, the two Houston natives rapping about self-confidence and making references to TikTok, “Demon Time” and OnlyFans. Beyoncé’s rich vocals bring a sultry vibe to the sassy track, and offered a beacon of light during the uncertain and anxious first months of lockdown in a global pandemic. Megan has said that collaborating with Beyoncé was the highlight of her year. Along with her hit song “WAP” with rapper Cardi B, Stallion has had many notable highs this year.
Over the summer, however, Megan Thee Stallion’s name flooded pop culture headlines as news broke that she was allegedly shot in the feet by rumored partner and fellow rapper, Tory Lanez. In her opening track “Shots Fired,” Stallion does not hold back, rapping in graphic detail on the night of the shooting and dissing Lanez with some not-so-subtle lyrics. Over the smooth yet slightly mysterious beat of “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over” used and most well known in Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya,” Megan sets the record straight once and for all: “Now y’all in cahoots, you a puss in boots / You shot a 5’10” bitch with a .22 / Talkin’ ’bout bones and tendons like them bullets weren’t pellets.” She disses her assailant while also asserting her resilience and strength, saying “We all know this shit I coulda came back with.” It is clear who she is slamming in her lyrics, as Megan says “I told him ‘You’re not poppin’, you just on the remix’ (What’s poppin’?),” alluding to Tory Lanez’ feature on Jack Harlow’s “WHATS POPPIN’? Remix” released earlier this year. “Shots Fired” is one of many tracks in which Megan Thee Stallion shows fans a look into the pain she experiences, despite what one may expect from the album title. In the lines “And we still ain’t got no fuckin’ justice for Breonna Taylor,” Megan continues to show her solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and emphasizes protecting Black women in particular.
Including “Shots Fired,” Stallion has always paid homage to hip-hop and R&B artists who came before her. “B.I.T.C.H,” a track on her EP “Suga,” is a spinoff of a 1996 2Pac song. On “Good News,” Megan also samples Jazmine Sullivan’s “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Circles)” 10 years later, in “Circles.” This song’s upbeat tempo offers a refreshing spin on Sullivan’s neo-soul vocals lamenting on a dysfunctional relationship. Stallion remakes the song into one that is more uplifting, reminding us that even if someone changes and “turn[s] out to be a clown,” that “we ain’t goin’ back and forth with the lil’ boys.”
Megan raps on everything from relationship struggles to her late mother. “Circles” is perhaps the most vulnerable look into her feelings in the entire album with the lines: “Bullet wounds, backstabs, mama died, still sad / At war with myself, in my head, bitch, it’s Baghdad,” and in the same verse, rapping, “And my clothes fit tight, but my heart need a seamstress.” Despite her unfazed, independent and seemingly invincible nature, Megan shows listeners that she is not just an untouchable celebrity — she is a regular human being who deals with lows along with all of the highs that come with being in the spotlight. Showing impressive breath control and catchy flows, “Circles” speaks to Megan’s theme of finding the silver linings within the bad and challenging times.
Although Megan heavily incorporates serious topics into her music, she also makes sure to deliver positive messages in songs like “Body” and “Work That.” These tracks rap about bodily autonomy, reclaiming one’s sexuality and generally include the sex-positive attitude she is known for in previous songs with explicit lyrics, such as “WAP.” When explaining “Body,” which has blown up as a dance challenge on TikTok, Stallion notes, “the song ‘Body’ … is me just empowering women to appreciate their bodies.” Over the catchy chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head, Megan repeats the phrase “body,” which is used to suggest having a nice figure. Megan brags about her desirability with explicit sounds and lines “body crazy, curvy, wavy, big titties, lil’ waist.” The fast-paced song, which is initially shocking as it features the sound of a woman moaning in the background, is perfect for dancing along to and for screaming in the car with friends. In “Work That,” Stallion continues the positive and fun attitude, encouraging her listeners to be ambitious and to own themselves: “Bitch, touch them toes, ayy, bitch, get that dough / If you in love with your body, bitch, take off your clothes.”
Overall, “Good News” explores both the good and the bad, but aims to put a positive spin on these challenging times. Stallion agrees: “During this time of lots of bad news, I wanted to be a light in a dark situation. And I wanted you to hear the ‘Good News’ from Megan Thee Stallion… I hope that [the album] creates great memories for people during this crazy time. I want you to listening to my music and it made you feel so good and keeps making you feel good.”