Who Is Megan Thee Stallion?
Megan Thee Stallion is a Grammy-winning American rapper whose lyrics forthrightly address gender, race and sex. Confidence and body positivity are part of her work, as seen on songs like “WAP,” which featured Megan alongside Cardi B. Megan has a devoted fan base, whom she calls her “hotties,” and millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram. She has spoken out regarding the injustices and violence faced by Black women. Even as a rap superstar, Megan continued to pursue a college degree.
Early Life and Family
Megan Thee Stallion was born as Megan Jovon Ruth Pete on February 15, 1995, in San Antonio, Texas. Megan grew up in Houston’s South Park neighborhood with her mother, Holly Thomas, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her father, Joseph Pete Jr., resided in prison for the first eight years of her life. They grew close following his release, until his death when Megan was 15.
Family members bolstered young Megan’s confidence. “I had really good examples of women in my life and they always put it in like, ‘Megan, you’re amazing… You’re doing so good,'” she told NME. “That came from my father too. I didn’t know anything else from birth.”
Her mother, Holly Thomas, worked as a bill collector, but from 2001 to 2007 also had a rap career under the moniker Holly-Wood. Megan would accompany her to the recording studio after school, and was fascinated by the environment. “My mom thought I was asleep or watching TV,” Megan said in 2019, “but I was really listening to the instrumentals being played over and over. So I would be in the other room just writing rhymes in my little kid’s folder, just things that I thought sounded cool. I owe everything to my mom.”
Megan first rapped for her mother at age 7, aided by a Barbie toy that offered prerecorded instrumentals and beats. She would sometimes steal her mother’s instrumentals and write her own lyrics. Yet she didn’t share her dreams of rapping at first. Her early activities included leading the cheerleading and dance teams in middle school, and being part of drill and dance teams during high school.
How Did Megan Thee Stallion Get Her Name?
In a 2017 interview, Megan explained the origins of her professional name: “Since I was younger, probably about 15 or 16, I’ve always had the same body. Older guys would always be like, ‘Oh, you a stallion.’ So I finally had to ask like, is that a good thing? Everybody pretty much took it and ran with it, and then I put it as my main name on Twitter, and ever since then everybody’s just been calling me Stallion.”
Launch of Rap Career
In 2013, Megan started studying at Houston’s Prairie View A&M University. College spurred her to start rapping. She confessed in 2019, “I don’t know why I didn’t even tell anybody in high school that I wanted to rap. I just didn’t want to say anything, but when I got to college, I was just like, ‘I’m a rapper.'” She took part in battles, and her freestyles found success online.
When Megan eventually rapped for her mother, Thomas was surprised by the explicit content of her daughter’s lyrics. She recognized Megan’s abilities, but told her to stay in college and wait until she was 21 before launching her career.
In 2016, Megan participated in a cypher freestyle session with local Houston rappers. She delivered a confident and in-control performance that earned wider attention. Her mother served as her manager as Megan began to find success. Thomas encouraged her daughter to take the work seriously and rap with her own voice.
Megan released the mixtape Rich Ratchet in 2016, the mixtape Make It Hot in 2017, and the EP Tina Snow in 2018. “Big Ole Freak” (2019) became her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
As Megan’s star rose, she continued to rely on her mother, saying “I always just said, ‘I’m going to call my mama. She’ll know what to do.'” Sadly, she lost this support when Thomas passed away due to a brain tumor in March 2019. Megan’s great-grandmother unfortunately also passed away the same month.
Megan found that focusing on her career helped with her grief. “[The losses] weigh on me,” she told Rolling Stone. “But I know what my mom and my grandma would want me to do. My mama is a very strong woman. She raised me to be super strong. If I got the platform to spread positivity, I’m gonna do it.”
This work ethic paid off. Megan released Fever in May 2019, which reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200. On Twitter, she came up with the term “Hot Girl Summer,” which led to a song of the same name featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. The tune went platinum and dominated the summer of 2019. “Hot Girl Summer” turned into such a popular phrase that Megan trademarked it.
In 2020, Megan’s “Savage” inspired a dance challenge and found viral success on TikTok. Beyoncé, an idol of Megan’s and a fellow Houston native, joined her for a remix of “Savage” that topped the charts. The proceeds of this remix went to the Houston nonprofit Bread of Life.
Megan’s EP Suga came out in 2020; she directed the video for “Captain Hook,” a song from Suga. Her debut album, Good News, was released in November 2020.