Megan Thee Stallion has already occupied several different roles in her career, but she’s never truly been seen in her 360. From Tina Snow to Hot Girl Meg, she’s been pegged in different areas, allowed a portion of the success she deserves by this industry, while also remaining hemmed in, bound by broader expectations. A lengthy, endlessly inspired, expertly curated full length, ‘Good News’ explodes those definitions, and finds Megan Thee Stallion asserting full control – and it’s a joy to behold.
The Texan artist leans on her Southern roots for the production, brusk and up-front, balancing her undeniable ambition with a raw sonic aesthetic that affords space for experimentation while retaining a real sense of definition. ‘Shots Fired’ is an outrageous introduction, while the pace doesn’t let up until emphatic close ‘Girls In The Hood’.
Meg’s character is the centre for the creative cosmos on ‘Good News’, which emphasises the riveting nature of her self-expression, and her canny ear as a cultural curator. The features on show tap into her aesthetic while also magnifying it – Beyonce is obviously the star name, but SZA’s appearance on ‘Freaky Girls’ is in a world of its own.
Indeed, ‘Good News’ thrives on Meg’s ability to see beyond her own limitations. Popcaan and Mustard raise the tempature on ‘Mustard’, while Big Sean and 2 Chainz link up on the stadium-filling ‘Go Crazy’. Never one to be over-awed, Megan Thee Stallion works with a clear sense of structured – as far as major league 2020 rap releases go, this is one of the most thorough, astute, and exact in its structure.
That said, the album’s peak often belong to Megan Thee Stallion alone. Take the raw, unrelenting flow that attacks ‘Circles’ for instance, or the sweetness she can adopt, and even transcend on ‘Sugar Baby’ or later highlight ‘Don’t Rock Me To Sleep’. She’s able to unveil different layers to her persona, all while bringing these elements together into something defined, and potent.
At times, ‘Good News’ can be almost overwhelming in its creative intensity. The velocity of the Texan’s attack never drops, a sustained assault that is staggering in its directness – even after multiple listens, the empowerment message of ‘Body’ can still stun, particularly given the broader context of Meg’s experiences in 2020.
Raw and ruthless, ‘Good News’ is the sound of Megan Thee Stallion pushing against the boundaries imposed on her until they break. Embracing some of the viral tropes that surround her, she’s able to own them, and transcend them, before moving on; she’s working at her own pace, owning her own destiny. The latest headlines are in: ‘Good News’ is a triumph, and a late contender for Album Of The Year.
Words: Robin Murray
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