Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Favorite Track: "Savage" Least Favorite Track: "Stop Playing (feat. Gunna)"
Megan Thee Stallion is extraordinarily talented, a standout known for her quick witted flows, aggressive and commanding delivery, and engaging personality that have solidified her as a female icon in the 2020 rap canon. Her feature on Cardi B’s 2020 single “WAP” was fiery, abrasive, and hilariously sexual in a manner that was fun and entertaining to the core. Her style is instantly recognizable too, with eccentric ad-libs and a smoky and captivating voice to boot. She has a lot working in her favor, and considering the massive amount of public attention she has gained since the start of her career, I believe she is getting a lot of well-deserved publicity.
Unfortunately, this clear talent doesn’t really shine through on Meg’s 2020 EP: Suga. Many of the things I love about her are present on this EP, with songs like “Savage” and “Captain Hook” covering all the bases I want in a Megan Thee Stallion song. But for every good moment present on this nine track EP, it feels like there are two duds that follow. Frequently on this record, Meg decides to stray away from a lot of the tried and true sounds of her 2019 mixtape Fever, and instead opts into some trap-R&B sounds that really don’t pan out.
The track “Stop Playing (feat. Gunna)” is by far my least favorite on the tracklist. Gunna is not a rapper widely known for his eccentric personality. Instead his music tends to follow a repetitive and bland formula of auto-crooning and basic rapping. This ultimately does not make for an interesting combination on this track, and instead of Meg rising above Gunna, she seems to stoop to the same level of lifeless energy he exhibits. The croons on the chorus of this song from Meg are so understated, so uninteresting, and so out of character for her as well. Her verses on this track are also weak considering her talent, with the autotune on her voice killing a lot of the charisma she naturally holds. Towards the back half of the track, Gunna comes through with a nauseatingly boring verse to finish things off, pulling together the lackluster monotony of the track about as well as one could.
“Hit My Phone (feat. Kehlani)” serves as a slightly more tolerable R&B cut on the record, although still uninteresting. The entire vibe of the song is actually quite reminiscent of another song featuring Kehlani, “Ring”, off of Cardi B’s 2018 effort Invasion of Privacy. When that record came out, “Ring” was easily one of my least favorite tracks on the record, serving as a lovesick ballad that really did nothing but come off as basic. This is a theme followed on “Hit My Phone”, which covers drunk texts to an ex and the feeling of wanting to be in touch with someone. It’s a cute sentiment at heart, but not executed particularly well by Kehlani or Meg here at all. The verses from Meg on this cut are quite weak yet again, not offering any fun lines or endearing vocal deliveries, and the slow, slightly funky R&B groove on this track does little to nothing to compliment her either.
While I really am not a fan of the aforementioned tracks, or much of the EP for that matter, there are a few bangers hidden in the tracklist. The massive TikTok hit “Savage” really earned its fame, with its super punchy, danceable beat and the fantastically goofy and eccentric vocals from Meg. This track shows her at her best artistically, with the nonchalant sexual themes and empowering message creating a provocative and relentlessly addictive track that never fails to make me feel like a badass. “Captain Hook” is a hysterical track about sex, plain and simple. There are so many great one liners on this track that are examples of Meg’s quick wit, defining her fun image as a songwriter. The instrumentation on this track is hard-hitting, Meg’s flow is fast and aggressive, and the chorus is insanely catchy, upping the replay value exponentially.
Suga, quite disappointingly, is a mixed bag through and through where the duds overshadow the highlights by a pretty large margin. While I have no issue with experimentation, this record does not do it well, due the lifeless autotune and vulnerability of the R&B influenced cuts, ultimately killing the eccentricity of Meg as an unfiltered personality. Meg’s style is so definitive, so special, that when she decides to mess with her sound a little bit it becomes a double edged sword. Her technical rapping abilities and endearing personality traits are clear on Fever and Tina Snow, an amalgamation of tried and true formulas that are fun, catchy, and easy to listen to. Suga attempts that same formula with a little bit of variation, but the experimentation seems to stifle out what makes Meg tick as an artist.