Traumazine for Album Megan Thee Stallion’s Sophomore – Topplaywriting
2022 has been the year that Houston-bred rapper Megan Thee Stallion has reclaimed her own narrative. In April, she opened up to Gayle King about the trauma she experienced as a result of the highly-publicized (and highly-polarizing) alleged shooting with Tory Lanez back in 2020. And on her new aptly-titled sophomore album Traumazine, she takes back the mic as she raps about her view from the top today.
Traumazine is, at its heart, a personal record for Megan. On tracks like “Flip Flop” and the vulnerable “Anxiety,” Megan raps about the death of her mother and admits that “a btch be sad as fck,” often when she’s smiling in front of cameras. She alludes to the Tory Lanez situation on the Pooh Shiesty collab “Who Me.” And she still manages to have fun and feel herself on tracks like “Her,” “Ms. Nasty,” and braggadocious single “Plan B.” For Megan, the album was about more than just recording good music. “I feel like it’s been so easy for people to tell my story for me and speak on my behalf,” she told Apple Music 1. “I’m like a nonchalant person, and people be talking about me, and I’d be like, ‘Okay, go with it. Fine. Sure.’ But I see now that it can get out of control. So I feel like I wanted to just take control of my own narrative, take control of my own storytelling and tell it from me.”
It was also a cathartic process for her, as she learned how to use her voice in rap to express her own feelings.
“Usually, when I write songs, I could be sad, and I’ll write a song like ‘Body,’ or I could be pissed off, and I’ll write a song like, ‘Freak Nasty.’ I don’t write songs about how I feel. I write songs about how I want to feel,” she said. “So I feel like, on this album, it’s probably the first time I figured out how to talk about what I want to say. Like, express myself a little bit more.”
NAO Finds Hope and Happiness On New Album ‘And Then Life Was Beautiful’
British singer NAO has grown into a fully realized artist and person over her last five years in the public eye. Her debut album, 2016’s For All We Know, put her on the map as a cross-genre singer, while 2018’s Saturn was an introspective journey as she navigated her own Saturn return in her late twenties.
NAO’s long-awaited third album And Then Life Was Beautiful is out today, and is a celebration of who NAO has blossomed into in the three years since Saturn. (Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that she poses on the album cover with a bright sunflower.) And Then Life Was Beautiful is largely a product of the pandemic, as much of the album’s lyrical content deal with NAO’s life and realizations post-lockdown. “Change came like a hurricane / 2020 hit us differently,” the album’s title track opens. The “Superego” singer gave birth to her first child, a daughter, in June of 2020, and her transformation into a mother is reflected throughout the album.
Tracks like “Messy Love” and “Antidote” (a collaboration with Nigerian breakout singer Adekunle Gold) harken back to the upbeat outings NAO delivered on For All We Know; meanwhile, songs like “Wait” and the serpentwithfeet-assisted “Postcards” call to mind the heartfelt honesty of Saturn.