On the eve of International Women’s Day, America’s Next Top Rapper played an all-too-brief set at a radio station-sponsored show, started a minor Twitter controversy and ended the night by making it rain at a strip club. For most people, that would be the height of excitement. For Megan Thee Stallion, that’s just Thursday.
The concert in question was a Women’s Day Celebration at the Fillmore Silver Spring thrown by WKYS, D.C.’s leading hip-hop and R&B station. True to the holiday, the full house was almost entirely women: dressed for the club and ready to start the weekend on a Thursday — or at least have a stairwell photo shoot.
The crowd had assembled to hear three up-and-coming rappers who all happen to be women: Saweetie from the Bay Area, LightSkinKeisha from Atlanta and Megan from Houston. All three have remade their hometown hip-hop in their own image, offering sexually empowered lyrics and the outsize swagger of their male counterparts. For too long, women in rap had just Nicki Minaj, or just Nicki and Cardi B; now, there’s a whole class of female rappers ready to glow up, showcasing a cornucopia of styles and sounds.
Unfortunately for the crowd at the Fillmore, all three would perform fun-size sets, leaving fans hungry for more. LightSkinKeisha, in sparkles, tassels and chaps, rode through a handful of tracks, but spent most of her allotted time calling twerkers to the stage as a prelude to “Believe Dat,” a strip club anthem that samples “Back That Azz Up.” She wasn’t the only one reworking millennial hits: Saweetie’s breakthrough track “Icy Grl” is a rapid-fire freestyle over Khia’s raunchy “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” and despite the goggles on her head and clutch of wavy, West Coast jams, her set failed to take off.
Apart from too-long intermissions between sets that forced radio talent to hype up the crowd — and a few fights that broke out during these breaks — the most confounding part of the night was Megan’s opening slot. With anime-inspired, half-magenta, half-blond hair and a video vixen build, the 24-year-old made an impression, even though she only played a few of her bass-heavy bops. Whenever she stopped rapping to show off a stripper-inspired dance move, the crowd erupted, and when she left the stage, they chanted her name, even when it was clear she wasn’t coming back out.
For more Megan Thee Stallion, fans would have to head to Twitter, where she started a thread celebrating women who love anime, much to the consternation of a few men (it’s always a few men, like the guys who started those fights in the club earlier in the evening). Or they could catch her at Stadium, their favorite rapper’s favorite strip club, where she was wielding stacks of cash with ease. Or they could wait until she returns, no doubt for a headlining set.