Megan Thee Stallion and City Girls represent the fifth wave of women in hip hop who flex agency in exploring and articulating their sexual selves.
In the second week of Ark Republic featuring budding women emcees, we travel down South to the land of booty shake and pole dances.
For emcees like Megan Thee Stallion and City Girls, they are deeply embedded in the hybrid culture of strip clubs and hip hop, a phenomenon that gained hardcore traction when Southern rap became a formidable force in the industry in the early 2000s.
During that time, women regularly served as props in videos as strippers or vixens. Occasionally, emcees like Missy Elliot broke through with hypersexual, braggadocio rhymes that competed with the fellas. On the other hand, Lil Kim had already established herself as the “Queen Bee” with wordplay, foreplay on tracks and moxie that dressed in erotic outfits and wigs.
Now, female emcees disrupt the narrative and become the dominant, the top that commands respect and sexual prowess like their foremothers, Khia, aka the Thug Mistress and the “Baddest Bitch,” Trina.
Like her predecessors, Foxy Brown and Nicki Minaj, the popular Texas reared, Megan Thee Stallion (government name: Megan Pete), flaunts and describes her sexual trysts in much of her bars. With rawness and unabashed detail, Thee Stallion says in her most popular song that became a seasonal anthem, “Hot Girl Summer”
Real ass nigga, give a fuck ’bout a bitch
It is what it is, this some five star dick
She a big ol’ freak, it’s a must that I hit
It’s a Hot Girl Summer, so you know she got it lit
Real ass bitch, know she got it lit
Hot Girl Summer so you know she got it lit, yeah
Real ass bitch, know she got it lit
Hot Girl Summer so you know she got it lit, yeah, yeah
When Salt N’ Pepa released their first single, “Push It,” in 1986, their suggestive lyrics were: Ah, push it / Oooh, baby, baby / Baby, baby / Oooh, baby, baby / Baby, baby / Get up on this!
Today, the lyrics in rotation make the 70s feminist sexual innuendo, “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,” blush and fall back, hard.
Thee Stallion, a solo act, got her name growing up in Houston due to her height (5 feet 11 inches) and Amazonian stature. A Texas Southern University student who takes online courses, knows that a stallion is a male horse and sometimes jokes about it. However, it also signifies a body built like a brick house—stacked and sturdy.
On another note, Megan Thee Stallion’s name has deeper roots. Houston, like much of Texas, is the epicenter for breeding and breaking horses. Many Black cowboys come from the region and so does a long, sordid history of lynchings and other atrocities against African Americans. So her name is also connected to her unwillingness to conform or be broken down to Victorian-esque, Black respectability, like the women and girl ancestors before her.
Perhaps that analysis was a stretch, but Megan Thee Stallion just signed to Roc Nation, and has built quite a name for herself. So much so, she can forego college if it were about money, or at least stature. However, she made a promise to her mother and grandmother to do what they couldn’t. So she struts on to finish the race in the class and on tracks.
A chance studio visit to ‘Act Up’ paid off for rising Miami rappers
City Girls, a duo comprised of JT (government name: Jatavia Shakara Johnson) and Yung Miami (government name: Caresha Romeka Brownlee), are middle-school friends who recorded a single on a whim, upon the suggestion of JT, an aspiring rapper.
When August 2017 “Fuck dat nigga,” a track sampling Khia (“My Neck, My Back”) caught on via the clubs and grassroots marketing, they were soon signed to Quality Control. A record label Cardi B and Migos signed to as well. Quickly, they released a mixtape, Period, in May 2018.
In the midst of a rare meteoric rise, the group hit a serious snag. JT was convicted for credit card fraud and is now serving a 2-year-bid in the feds. She began serving her time last July.
Nonetheless, the wheels of the business kept churning. Their full album, Girl Code, was released November 2018 with Yung Miami left to promote. Initiating her inner publicist and proving to be a helluva storyteller, she maintained her interview and performance schedule. The world fell in love with her famous, Miami-drenched accent and “flewed out” statements.
Through her, we learned that JT was bashful about rhyming strong sexual lyrics in the studio in front of onlookers. Often, she talked about some of her life like her father saying “she would never be shit.” This was just the beginning of their lives playing out in public. Yung Miami’s mother is in prison too.
So the City Girls with their questionable staying power, became “I’m rooting for you sis.”
Yung Miami, who is hands down the weaker of the two in rhyming, if that’s what she’s doing at all, used her superpower of branding. She frequented strip clubs and participated in a regular form of payola. To get plays, she dashed deejays $20 to spin her records at the club.
Her promotional style paid off, as City Girls songs capture the twerking hearts of many. When you hear the first few lines of the song, “Act Up,” and are somewhere in the vicinity of Generation Z and millennials, take cover, shit gets rowdy.
As Yung Miami toured solo while representing a two-person team, in the process, she found love, even if temporary, and conceived a child with Atlanta producer, Southside (government name: Joshua Howard Luellen). In the last stages of gestation, she is focusing on having a healthy child, in spite of her split from Southside. JT’s release date is March 2020.
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