This week, rapper and overall star Megan Thee Stallion released the song “Cobra.” On the single, she opened up about her mental health struggles and used the symbolic meaning of the cobra — shedding your skin, rebirth and healing — to show she’s getting better. It was an immediate hit.
I was a big fan of the song for several reasons. Megan Thee Stallion’s new song featured incredible lyricism, a cool beat and, most importantly, some cool rock elements. “Cobra” opens with a guitar riff and ends with a sick guitar solo, two of my favorite things a song can have.
However, Megan one-upped herself shortly after “Cobra’s” release. She dropped a remix of the single, titled “Cobra (Rock Remix)” that features the proggy-metalcore band Spiritbox. While I was initially somewhat skeptical, I should have never questioned Megan’s artistic intuition. “Cobra (Rock Remix)” goes undeniably hard. By adding the heavier, more prominent guitar riffage and Courtney LaPlante’s intense vocals with the original hit, Megan Thee Stallion elevated her already amazing song to a new level of crazy good.
This new remix made me wonder why rap and pop artists do not do this more often with their music. If they did, they would be tapping into a new audience without alienating their fans, exploring new types of music and making something that sounds incredibly cool.
Part of it may be the negative way the metal community often treats popular artists, especially female artists. If you scroll through the Instagram post rock and metal news outlet Loudwire made about the remix, you can find comments trashing the remix from people who likely didn’t listen to it.
The people making these comments fail to understand that this remix can only help Spiritbox, and similar collaborations between popular artists and rock and metal bands would be very beneficial to the heavy music scene. Spiritbox is being exposed to an audience it never would have been able to reach on its own because of this collaboration, and fans of the band should want them to be successful.
Additionally, when popular musicians express their appreciation for rock and metal music, that musician’s fans are more likely to explore the world of heavy metal. Why would we not want more people listening to the bands we love?
There is a pattern of this type of behavior in the metal community. When Metallica members expressed interest in working with Lady Gaga, a proud metalhead, the band’s fans reacted negatively and attacked her. When Doja Cat said she wanted to make a hardcore punk album, she was met with angry dismissal from punks and metalheads.
It is deeply frustrating to see this pattern repeating. Anyone, regardless of their status as either a popstar or a regular person, should be allowed to enjoy rock and metal. Why would you not anyone to make music that you might like? Why be a gatekeeper of your favorite music?
Some bands choose to stay underground. Whether it is a fun project for the band’s members, or that’s just the way the philosophy it operates under, it is entirely their choice. But it is also a band's choice to want to try and break into bigger audiences and get more listeners. People shaming Spiritbox for collaborating with a popular rapper don’t realize the members of Spiritbox both need listeners to make money and want to make something new for their fans.
By attempting to keep metal in the dark from bigger audiences, fans are damaging the genre. Not only are they keeping other people who could join them in headbanging to their favorite new Kublai Khan TX song, but they are also hurting the bands they claim to be supporting. A lot of metal acts — especially newer, smaller ones — need listeners now more than ever. So what if someone discovers a new band they like because Megan Thee Stallion made a song with them?
Plus, Lady Gaga has vocal chops like nobody else and Doja Cat could make a mean hardcore album. Why should we police who gets to make metal music? Imagine all the amazing new metal music that was never made because of the gatekeeping that occurs in the modern metal scene. It is a real shame to think of all the albums that were never made because of bad experiences that seem to be part of a cycle that has yet to be broken.
Jackson McCoy is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts? Let Jackson know by emailing or tweeting him at email@example.com or @_jackson_mccoy_.