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After just releasing her first and most recent album *Good News in 2020, Megan Thee Stallion is back with a vengeance (Photo provided by @theestallion via Twitter).

Album Review: ‘Traumazine’ does not fall victim to the sophomore slump

Megan Thee Stallion’s sophomore album Traumazine is a multi-layered, genre-bending project infused with witty bars, vulnerability and confidence. 

After releasing her first album Good News in 2020, Megan Thee Stallion is back with a vengeance.

Announced in a surprised Instagram post just a day before the album dropped, Traumazine will be the last project with her current label, 1501 Certified Entertainment. Thee Stallion has been vocal about her issues with the label, including legal battles, release delays and compensation issues. 

The 51-minute album opens with “NDA,” where Megan asserts she will not be messed with. Rapping over a dark, moody beat (produced by Hitkidd), she sets the tone for the rest of the album with lyrics like “Sick of bein’ humble ‘cause you b------ don’t respect that.” With this song, Megan is taking, not asking for, a seat at the table and forcing you to listen.

She follows up with “Ungrateful (feat. Key Glock)” and “Not Nice,” songs that drip with confidence and anger. “Not Nice” is a standout on the album, where Megan switches her flow multiple times and creates an infectious chorus that’s perfect to sing along to when someone has wronged you. She gives us a glimpse into what she deals with as a female rapper in the industry when she sings, “A lot of rappers mad ‘cause I never gave ‘em sex.”

Immediately, the album transitions into another standout: “Budget (feat. Latto).” Danceable and energetic, Latto keeps up with Megan on this track and matches her energy perfectly. 

With “Her,” Megan dips into a bouncing house beat and makes it her own. This song couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, especially with the release of house albums like Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE and Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind.

“Gift & A Curse” and “Ms. Nasty” feels like classic Megan, reminiscent of her Tina Snow era. She raps every bar on these tracks with conviction. On this track, she demands respect from everyone in her life: listeners, fellow rappers and love interests. 

Megan isn’t afraid to get nasty on “Who Me (ft. Pooh Shiesty)” and “Red Wine,” where she shamelessly expresses her sexuality and desires in the bedroom. In “Who Me (ft. Pooh Shiesty),” Megan once again calls out rapper Tory Lanez, who allegedly shot her in the foot in a car. Their legal battle is still ongoing, as Lanez continues to deny the allegations

Possibly the best song on the album, Megan joins forces with Rico Nasty on “Scary.” Rico’s rapsy, punk-esque flow blends flawlessly with Megan’s lyrics. This track has the most cohesive theme with some of the wittiest bars on the album, all laid over a spooky, Halloween-y beat. Megan spits bars that mention a Rolls-Royce Ghost, Candyman, pumpkins and goosebumps.

Rico is the perfect feature on this song; she is easily recognizable by her “scary” punk-meets-rap aesthetic. Her bars are just as creative, filled with double meanings and fitting the vibe perfectly. We can only hope to hear more from them.

In a stark, but not unwelcome, transition, Megan gets vulnerable on “Anxiety.” She explains to listeners she’s not immune to bad days and speaks directly to her mother who passed away in 2019 from brain cancer. On this track, we get an intimate look into her mental health and almost everyone can find at least one lyric to relate to in this song. 

Megan has been vocal about therapy, mental health and the losses she's experienced in her life. She raps, “It’s crazy how I say the same prayers to the Lord / And always get surprised about who he take.” She expresses the frustrations that come with dealing with trauma and mental health struggles, breaking down her typically hard, sexy, “take-no-prisoners” attitude right before our eyes.

Megan also explores her struggles with fame and loss on “Flip Flop,” where she raps, “I don’t know why they want me to fail / I don’t know why they hate me so much.” She, again, mentions the loss of both of her parents and explains how not everyone around you is someone you can trust. 

On “Consistency (ft. Jhene Aiko),” Megan dips her toe in R&B. This song feels like sinking down into a warm hot tub’; its sexy, intoxicating beat samples the iconic “Between the Sheets” from The Isley Brothers, most notably used by The Notorious B.I.G on “Big Poppa.”

The album starts to wrap up with the lighthearted “Star (feat. Lucky Daye).” With a pop hook and chorus, this song doesn’t stand out, but is cute and fun nonetheless. 

She ends the album with its singles, including “Pressurelicous (feat. Future),” “Plan B” and “Sweetest Pie” with Dua Lipa. She also includes “Southside Royalty Freestyle (ft. Sauce Walka, Big Pokey & Lil Keke)” in the final track run of the album. While I’m usually blown away by her freestyle, this song falls flat due to an unmemorable beat and too many features. 

Overall, Traumazine is one of Megan’s best. She has proven herself time and time again as a talented rapper with the bars, freestyles and production to back it up. Traumazine is an almost-perfect reflection of just how unique and talented the H-Town Hottie is. 

Rating: 4/5


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