NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Sidney Madden from NPR Music about Megan Thee Stallion’s sophomore album Traumazine.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
All proper. With just some hours’ discover, Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion stunned followers and launched her new album “Traumazine” early at the moment.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “FLIP FLOP”)
MEGAN THEE STALLION: (Rapping) Behind this smile, I am preventing these tears ‘trigger a b**** be unhappy as f***. Ever since my mama died 2019, I do not actually know who I can belief.
CHANG: A follow-up to her 2020 debut, “Good Information,” this album takes inventory of the artist’s tumultuous previous few years and reasserts her celebrity standing. Sidney Madden has been listening. She’s an NPR music reporter and co-host of the podcast Louder Than A Riot. And she or he is right here to inform us all in regards to the new album. Hey, Sidney.
SIDNEY MADDEN, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.
CHANG: Hey. OK, so are you able to simply clarify what’s the that means behind the identify “Traumazine,” you assume?
MADDEN: Megan acquired artistic. She took some poetic license. And she or he shared that the title on social media, “Traumazine,” is in reference to the fictional chemical that’s launched in your mind whenever you’re compelled to take care of painful feelings attributable to traumatic occasions and experiences, which is digging actually deep into what the album is about.
CHANG: I am simply curious. How do you assume this album matches general into Megan’s entire physique of labor?
MADDEN: For my part, “Traumazine” is a big inventive step ahead for Megan. She’s displaying off vulnerability in ways in which she’s by no means actually finished earlier than on mic. So followers of Megan know that she’s normally recognized for extra high-adrenaline, horny, enjoyable, salacious, braggadocious kind of tracks like “Savage,” which gained her the Grammy. And, I imply, do not get it twisted. This album has that, too. However the great thing about it’s actually the dexterity of the challenge.
It is that these kinds of tracks are offset with deep contemplations in regards to the trauma she’s skilled in her life up to now and, extra pointedly, the double requirements in society that Black ladies carry with them after they’re objectified, appropriated. She’s been concerned in intensive authorized battles together with her former document label over contract disputes. And each of her dad and mom handed away simply as she began blowing up. And in the summertime of 2020, she was concerned in an incident of assault when she was allegedly shot by fellow musician Tory Lanez as the 2 had been leaving a celebration in LA. It is so much to course of.
CHANG: Yeah, it’s a lot to course of whenever you lay all of it out like that. I imply, the place do you hear a few of that type of deep reflection about her previous traumas in these songs?
MADDEN: There is a particular run of songs within the sequencing of this album that basically appears like diary entries. So on one observe referred to as “Anxiousness,” she breaks down within the lyrics. And it appears like she’s having a stream of acutely aware thought making an attempt to explain what shifting via life with this nervousness and this post-traumatic stress actually appears like. It is uncooked. It is actual. And it may well’t be faked.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ANXIETY”)
MEGAN THEE STALLION: (Rapping) Points, however no one I may discuss to about it. They hold saying I ought to get assist. However I do not even know what I would like. They hold saying, converse your reality, and on the identical time say they do not consider, man. Excuse me whereas I get into my emotions for a second.
CHANG: So, Sidney, I imply, you’ve got been overlaying Megan Thee Stallion since, like, the very starting of her profession. What strikes you personally, like, essentially the most about this album?
MADDEN: I believe what strikes me most is Megan’s skill to harness all that vitriol that is been slung at her over the previous few years and channel it into actually lovely artwork. The imagery up to now, with all the roll-out and the video snippets shared – it is evoking a sort of Disney’s “Maleficent” vibe, you recognize, black leather-based, latex, embodying that misunderstood villain. And I actually assume one key query that this album probes listeners to essentially take into account is, to what finish does Megan owe the general public any extra kind of processing of this very, very actual, very public ache? Simply as she subverted numerous long-held double requirements about sexual company getting used to shortchange or detract from her craft, the feelings proven on “Traumazine” actually break down the robust Black girl trope that has been used for much too lengthy to rationalize Black ladies’s mistreatment, disposability and mortality.
CHANG: That’s NPR’s Sidney Madden. Thanks a lot, Sidney.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “NDA”)
MEGAN THEE STALLION: (Rapping) Something I did to any of you n*****, y’all deserved it. You see me in that mode. Do not disturb me after I’m working. Little b****, you higher again up.
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