‘Hot Girl Summer’ Star Megan Thee Stallion Is 2019’s Buzziest Breakthrough Artist

Megan Thee Stallion Hitmakers
Courage Osadolor/2020 Photography

Megan Thee Stallion needs a moment. “I’m going from coast to coast, and it’s cold some places and hot some places,” she says after letting loose a wracking cough. “It’s really messing with me.” She’s calling from Indianapolis but soon will head to her hometown of Houston to perform at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival. “We’re somewhere every day.”

Over the past year, the no-holds-barred rapper has been booked and busy. Since releasing her breakthrough “Tina Snow” EP in June 2018, the 24-year-old has become one of hip-hop’s buzziest figures on the back of hits like “Big Ole Freak” and “Cash S—” (featuring DaBaby). After a bidding war that resulted in her becoming the first female rapper to sign with 300 Entertainment last November, she released her first full-length project, “Fever,” and proved to be a branding mastermind after she coined the term Hot Girl Summer on Twitter and, once it became a meme, spun it into her biggest smash to date.

“I didn’t even know Hot Girl Summer was going to be all this,” says Meg (born Megan Pete). While brands like Maybelline and Wendy’s cashed in on the meme via social media, she doubled down and created a seasonal anthem in the studio. Veteran rapper-producer Juicy J sent her the beat for the song, which already included singer Ty Dolla $ign on the chorus. She added her parts, and “Hot Girl Summer” was ready for release, but then she asked Nicki Minaj to guest on it during an Instagram Live session. Minaj sent over her verse that night, and the party-starting anthem took flight.

“It made me feel like I must be doing something right — Nicki wouldn’t just get on anything,” says Meg. To date, “Hot Girl Summer” has 91 million streams on Spotify, and its splashy video has 45 million YouTube views. “It just lets me know I was moving in the right direction.”

Recently, she extended her summer solstice into the fall, supplying her fans (or “hotties,” as she calls them) with a Halloween-themed web series named “Hottieween” in partnership with YouTube and directed by Teyana Taylor. She’s working on her official debut album with predominantly female guests through the lens of Suga — the more sensitive of her many personas — in an effort to redefine and build a career past her viral moment. “You have to be passionate about what it is that you’re feeling. I could be popping on the internet all day, but my music could be ass,” she laughs. “But I love making music, and I feel like mine definitely carries its own weight.”

See the full list of 2019 Hitmakers here.