Megan Thee Stallion may be the biggest breakout star of the entire year, moving from a talented up-and-comer to one of the biggest names in the entire music industry. Hot Girl Summer last year was her first big move into the mainstream, but that pales in comparison to her two number one singles in 2020, one of which is one of the biggest singles of the entire year. WAP is probably the biggest crossover moment in which Stallion was no longer a name to watch but instead a name we all knew, but Savage is still a huge moment for the twenty-five year old Megan, even spawning a TikTok meme about Tiger King. It feels right that we have her official debut record at the end of the year, capping off her incredible year with an album that is sure to keep her star rising even higher.
What is so refreshing about the rise of Thee Stallion is just how undeniably talented she is as a rapper. It may seem like hyperbole, but Megan has one of the most impressive and memorable rap flows of the entire current industry, not only efficient in quick paced rhyme schemes but also having such infectious confidence and exceptional charisma. Her delivery is also completely separated from the style that we hear in modern music from my perspective; major female styles today are the uber-confidence and aggressive style of Cardi B, Nicki Minaj's technical gifts incorporated into pop signatures, and at a smaller scale the punky and loud style of Rico Nasty. Thee Stallion feels like she has more in common with a Missy Elliot than her contemporaries, with more banging production and a more throwback style on songs like Circles and Do It On The Tip. She spends a lot less time sitting on average trap beats or pop production and instead feels like she is in her own lane entirely. That ability to engage with her own sound makes Megan Thee Stallion an almost unlikely star; one who is unapologetically sexual and completely bought in on herself rather than trying to suit to the times.
That isn't to say that Good News completely avoids the common mainstream tropes. Movie is definitely in the trap beat style, Freaky Girls has a huge pop hook thanks to SZA, and Intercourse is in a similar pop stratosphere. These are some of the less stellar moments of the album from a musical perspective, but even on these songs Thee Stallion doesn't switch her style and instead makes the beats bow to her. These songs often feel a bit disjointed comparatively because of how Megan doesn't really suit these beats and styles in the same way, but even those tracks don't seem to take away from her lyrical and vocal talents.
This is because, more often than not, these tracks are absolutely killer bangers that see Thee Stallion sounding like the biggest personality in the room with a production style to match. Notable songs are the opener Shots Fired that immediately sets a pulsating tone with "woke" lyrics, the old-school samples on Circles, the thick What's New, and the throwback production on Girls In The Hood. These highlights drastically outshine the less impressive moments because even when Stallion is at her worst she's still better than the majority of her contemporaries, and when she's at her best she's an absolute beast.
Honestly, which is an almost humorous concept, the worst part of the entire album is when Megan Thee Stallion isn't the focus. When artists like Da Baby, Lil Durk, and Young Thug come in they are completely eclipsed by the time Megan comes back and when she's not there you're just hoping for her to come back. Good News is one of those rare albums where you almost wish the artist was completely on their own because Megan is so good that she could unquestionably land on a fifty minute album without anyone else's lyrical involvement.
Once again, this whole thing may seem like an early exaggeration, but Good News is so immediately impressive I have no reason to believe that I'm seeing it from the wrong perspective. Megan Thee Stallion is simply that stellar as a vocalist, and her willingness to bring in some different sonic qualities only makes her album that much more enjoyable. If 2020 was Stallions coming out party, she certainly ended the party with a bang.
Favorite track: What's New