Megan Thee Stallion - Traumazine Music Album Reviews

Megan Thee Stallion - Traumazine Music Album Reviews
On her second album, Meg dishes out disses, gets political, and grapples with her personal life. It’s an ambitious and uneven attempt to step into her most challenging role yet: herself.

Ever since the inaugural Hot Girl Summer in 2019, Megan Thee Stallion’s rise to cultural dominance has been shadowed by grief, betrayal, media scrutiny, and online harassment. In response, she’s thrown up a series of alter egos, each fiercer, flirtier, and funnier than the last: Tina Snow, Suga, Hot Girl Meg. On her second album, the surprise release Traumazine, Meg takes on her most challenging role: herself. While albums like JAY-Z’s 4:44 and Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers are recent additions to therapy-rap canon, Megan takes on the daunting task of crafting a digestible and multifaceted album about her trauma in a society and musical genre that notoriously vilify Black women and dismiss their pain—all while allegedly being sabotaged by her team. Ultimately, her need to maintain an unbothered image takes precedence over real introspection and evolutionary risk-taking, a glaring misstep on an album marketed as her most vulnerable to date.

But Meg really does peel back layers and try to show us a different side to her. At certain moments, Traumazine follows the confessional style of a diary entry. On “Anxiety,” she opens up about her struggles with mental health and invokes the legacy of famous women whose hardships were likewise picked apart by the media: Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston. But even when she conveys emotionally raw thoughts, the tone of the production does not match the gravity of her words. The yodeling instrumental and upbeat piano distract from Meg’s poignant musings about the apologies she’ll never get to make to her late mother. On “Flip Flop,” a closer tonal fit, Megan clings to the toughness and a bit of playfulness that has allowed her to survive in the industry and in life.

Although she’s talked about the interpersonal betrayal she experienced on Good News and Something for Thee Hotties, as well as in thoughtful op-eds and interviews, Traumazine marks the first time that Meg has fully infused socio-political commentary into her music, save for the brief “Justice for Breonna Taylor” mention in “Shots Fired.” On “Not Nice” she raps, “My skin not light enough/My dialect not white enough/Or maybe I’m just not shaped the way that makes these niggas give a fuck,” shining a light on the rampant misogynoir she endured these past couple of years. Meg’s known for her celebrating her body in visuals and lyrics, but in this context, it becomes a call-out to those who enjoy her sexualized image but refuse to acknowledge her personhood. She continues this thread through multiple mentions of embracing her natural hair and Blackness: “I’m Black, Biggie-Biggie Black … my Afro my Powerpuff.” She’s reclaiming her body from everyone who’s picked her apart, from the saltiest social media commenter to the United States Supreme Court, and she tops off “Gift & a Curse” with the line, “My motherfucking body/My choice.”

When it comes to disses, Megan still snaps. She delivers lines that make you grateful you’re not her target: “You got the roaches in your crib sharin’ snacks with your kids.” Although her punchlines are not as sharp as on previous albums, on ’90s-inspired tracks like “Plan B” and “Not Nice,” she taps into the ruthlessness of a battle rapper and the galvanizing force of Queen Latifah to prove that lyricism and delivery are her weapons. Even on sloppy production—the Murda Beatz producer tag jump scare in a “Gift & a Curse” and the gimmicky theremin sample on “Scary”—her voice remains steadfast and lethal. When she borrows the bouncy house beat and staccato vocals of ballroom music for a TikTok-ready chorus on “Her,” her delivery illustrates the effort she’s put in to match the inspiration.

The featured artists are a mixed bag. Megan and Latto are a true team on “Budget”: two Southern women whose braggadocious demeanors compliment each other and make it sound like they’re spitting on haters. At other times, it can feel like Meg hopped onto her collaborator’s song instead. She matches the pop energy of “Sweetest Pie,” a collaboration with Dua Lipa that follows a formulaic Future Nostalgia template. Lucky Daye shines on “Star,” a breezy Zara dressing room soundtrack where Megan sings in a style similar to her Instagram live karaoke videos. Although it’s a nice change of pace to hear Meg corny in love on a track, Jhené Aiko’s sweet harmonies are less than essential on “Consistency.” And Future’s lackluster feature on “Pressurelicious” is not worth the $250,000 it cost.

On “Southside Royalty Freestyle,” the Meg who caught the internet’s attention with standout verses in parking lot cyphers now leads her own. On an album marked by fears of betrayal and isolation, it’s refreshing to hear Houston rappers Sauce Walka, Lil’ Keke, and Big Pokey—the sound of Meg’s city backing her up. Sauce Walka’s stream-of-consciousness rant over sharp snares and an Isley Brothers sample give the track the feel of a live recording and further reinforce Megan’s status at the vanguard of a new generation of Southern rap. Like generations before her, she’s got the biting diss tracks, intoxicating charisma, and flexibility to swing between genres. Most importantly, she’s sincere as she continues to further a cultural interrogation of the mistreatment of Black women within rap. As a concept album, Traumazine is uneven. But as an embodiment of the phrase “healing isn’t linear,” its significance couldn’t be more clear.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Megan Thee Stallion - Traumazine Music Album Reviews Megan Thee Stallion - Traumazine Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 23, 2022 Rating: 5


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