It’s always exciting to see the rise of a new superstar in real time. Megan Thee Stallion has been growing her fanbase steadily with the effervescent Tina Snow mixtape and her biggest hit so far, “Big Ole Freak.” With her new mixtape, Fever, her first as a signed artist, Megan takes no prisoners and pumps out banger after banger while proving why she is world’s next big rapper. I named Megan as one of the select Artists to Watch in 2019, and Fever is exactly the kind of record Megan and her listeners need right now. Fever is collection of ferocious tracks that are empowering, catchy, sexually liberating, and authentic.
The first half of Fever has one of the best runs of back-to-back hits that I’ve ever seen on album. “Realer,” the album opener, is a proclamation of Megan’s passion and drive for rap and her confidence and trust in herself and her talent. In the vein of Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” or Cardi B’s “Get Up 10,” “Realer” is a gritty exercise in Megan’s flow and skill. The hook on this track is strong, but there are even more excellent hooks on later tracks.
“Hood Rat S**t” and “Cash S**t,” which features DaBaby, are fun uptempo tracks where Megan promotes sexual empowerment for and camaraderie between women. On Fever, it’s clear that Megan is all about her skill, her money, her friends, and her sexual freedom. Megan is always in control on Fever, and none of her raps (even the most outrageous double-entendres and one-liners) are for the attention of men. This is all for her and her ladies, which makes the mixtape even greater. “W.A.B” is a standout track that inspires a gust of energy and attitude with every listen. The hook is simple, but wow, is it effective. Also, “Keep it cool but I’m dramatic / Rub me wrong and get this static,” is a terrific line. Things slow down on the groovy slow jam-inspired “Best You Ever Had,” on which Megan reminds us that she can sing fairly well. The Juicy J collaboration, “Simon Says” has all the makings of a summer smash; the hook interpolates a children’s game that everyone knows, but flips it to make it decidedly more adult and risqué. This track, like many before it, is a perfect example of how infectious Megan’s energy is. She delivers every line (even the ones where she confuses “queso” for “pesos”) with the same conviction, that you can’t help but believe in her.
There are some duds on Fever, unfortunately. Much of the back half of the mixtape blends together because the subject matter is too similar and redundant. While “Dance” and “Ratchet” are enjoyable, songs like “Sex Talk”; “Money Good” and “Bring Drank” feel like reductive versions of stronger tracks that Megan has already made. Luckily, Fever is brought to a close by the impressive “Running up Freestyle”; a stern reminder that Megan’s pen may be dangerous, but when she goes off the dome, she’s unstoppable.
Megan is selling talent and a good time, and it is clear that she is hungry for the top spot. On Fever, Megan isn’t staking a claim for anyone’s spot. Instead, she is creating a world of freedom and fun for all of her Hotties, and she is doing it with effortless style and wit.
Key Tracks: “W.A.B”; “Simon Says”; “Realer”; “Cash S**t”; “Best You Ever Had”