At Manhattan’s Gotham Hall, the location for Megan Thee Stallion’s CRWN interview held on Tuesday night (Mar. 10), staff workers handed out sanitation wipes for every attendee, a precaution in response to the increasing cases of coronavirus in New York.
While several events have been canceled or postponed — NYC’s Half Marathon and the NY Auto Show, in particular — the live interview series carried on, hosting a modest-sized crowd who enjoyed theme drinks and free snacks. Thankfully, this group of Hotties got to spend time with Megan Thee Stallion and learn more about her story at the event exclusively held for TIDAL members.
The 25-year-old rapper is coming off a whirlwind couple of weeks after venting about her recording contract with her label 1501 Certified Entertainment, getting into a dispute with its CEO, former baseball star Carl Crawford, and controlling the ripple effect it caused, which almost halted the release of Suga. Understandably, Megan didn’t speak on specifics of her lawsuit in front of this live audience, but did stick to topics about her writing process, why she tries to be cool with every woman in hip-hop, working with Pharrell, and more. Here’s what we learned.
Writing bars comes first
One of the first things you notice on Suga’s opener “Ain’t Equal” is how focused Megan sounds. A strong message with direct lyrics shows she’s been studying the greats, who often emphasize writing quality over quantity. Although Megan grew up in Houston, she came from a background of listening to lyricists from all over, like Biggie, ‘Pac, and Pimp C, who all could get in the zone and go off when they wanted to.
“In my head, it’s about rapping — it’s about the bars,” she explained. “I remember Biggie used to say, ‘Every bar gotta be hard.’ He treated every project like it was his first project. So in my head, I’m thinking, ‘Okay, people want to hear me rap.’ Cause that’s what I like to hear. So when I work on music now, I’m like, ‘Okay, I gotta make sure I at least have a few songs where I’m spitting bars.’”
She doesn’t “tear down” other women in hip-hop
As a new artist, Megan Thee Stallion has already worked with Nicki Minaj and Kehlani, who genuinely love her, and rung in the New Year with Beyoncé. She’s also on the latest cover of Rolling Stone with her friends Normani and SZA. It’s safe to say Meg isn’t the type of person to have any public beefs with other women, and she plans to keep it that way. “When you’re a confident person, you’re not trying to claw your way to the top,” she said. “You just know you [are] naturally going to make it.”
She continued: “Trying to tear somebody else down, I feel like that’s not going to keep me in my position. I feel like if I came in and I’m nice and we’re working together and we’re helping, that’s going to keep both of us in our position. Why do I have to tear you down to make me feel better? That’s not the type of person I am.”
“Captain Hook” was inspired by an anime
“Captain Hook” is one of the lead singles from Suga, and an interesting tidbit about the song is how Megan thought of the sword sound effects while watching an anime. Although she couldn’t recall which anime she was watching, it prompted her to call her producer Lil Ju to craft a beat right away. “He’s like, ‘Some swords?’” She recalled. “I was like, ‘Yeah, like pull your sword and the sound it makes.’ He was like, ‘All right.’ He made the beat and sent it right back and we got ‘Captain Hook.'”
She respects Kehlani’s work ethic
Another song the Hotties gravitated towards on Sugar was Megan’s collab with Kehlani called “Hit My Phone.” As the story goes, Megan almost didn’t get the record for her own set, as it was reserved for Kehlani’s upcoming album. But after Megan kept praising the song and giving her hints that she wanted it for her project, Kehlani finally gave in, telling Megan that the song didn’t fit the vibe of her album and that she could have it.
The most important part of her story was that Megan makes an effort to work with artists in-person. It’s how she realized that Kehlani’s work ethic is unlike anyone else’s.
“I take music so seriously. I am really passionate about music. I like to work with people who I know are as passionate about it as me,” she said. “And Kehlani take her craft so seriously. She would fight me on anything about the song. She would fight her own team about her song. She really take it dead-ass serious. And I really admire her work ethic.”
She has more songs with Pharrell
When you get an opportunity to work with Pharrell, you have to make the most of it. Megan said she didn’t want to go into the studio and “bulls–t” with Pharrell. Rather, she wanted to showcase her professionalism and how important writing lyrics is to her.
“He’s a legend, so when I got in there — I never got produced like that before. I went in the booth and started rapping. And he’s literally on the outside still making a beat and I didn’t know that’s a thing that you would do,” she recalled of the session. “He already has the foundation of the beat. I start writing to it. And I go in the booth, and I might freestyle it a little bit. We just keep playing with it like that. As I’m saying stuff that he like, he add new stuff to the beat. I’m like, ‘That’s really crazy.’”
Meg took it so seriously that Pharrell was impressed. “He was like, ‘D–n, Meg. I’ma start calling you Meg Thee Machine,’” she said. “For like three days, we bang out at least two-three songs everyday.”
She wants to write for singers someday
The back half of Suga features Megan singing more — a skill she’s been exploring and fine-tuning as of late. “Stop Playing” with Gunna, “Crying in the Car,” and “What I Need” are signs of a more melodic direction in her future releases. But Megan is also an ambitious person, revealing she would love to write for singers. “I have a lot of melodies in my head,” she said. “I even want to start writing for singers. I don’t want to just keep the sauce for myself, I want to spread it.”
She plans on finishing school and opening an assisted-living facility
In a profile with Vulture in 2019, Megan explained why she wanted to study health administration. Through her own experiences, she saw how difficult it was for her great-grandmother and grandmother to take care of each other while living together. So, in order to give back to Houston, she wants to open an assisted-living facility for people in similar situations. She expressed her goals again during her CRWN interview, adding she wants to hire her classmates to help operate it.
“I really want to have my own [assisted-living facility],” she said. “I really want it to be a comfortable living situation. I really want to have my classmates run it, ‘cause it is really hard for you to get a job fresh out of college. And a lot of times, people don’t hire you because you don’t have experience. Well d–n, ‘If you don’t ever get the chance to get the experience, how are you ever going to get the job?’ So, I am going to open up these facilities… Let me be your first job.”
The debut album is all Megan
The common theme from the Hotties is that they want more content from Megan. Her fans got particularly excited about the idea that a video for “Cash S–t” with DaBaby could still come out. Fever: Thee Movie, directed by Hype Williams, should be on the docket as well, but she didn’t give an update during Tuesday’s interview.
What she is currently working on is her debut album. Suga is a project, a collection of songs she really liked, and introduced a new alter ego that she describes as “the side of me that knows that I be f–king up.” Her next one doesn’t have any concrete details yet, but we can expect it to be all 100 percent Megan Thee Stallion.
“I feel like I am getting more mature and I’m getting more comfortable,” she said. “I feel like an album is just saying this is me. This is the type of artist I am. I’m here. I’m stamped. I’m solidified.”
You can watch Megan’s interview exclusively on TIDAL below.