Houston's status as a fertile and influential rap mecca is still thriving as the rest of the world continues to catch up with the city's historically insular greatness. So consider Megan Thee Stallion an ambassador of what’s happening there now. From the blaxploitation vibes of its cover art to its loaded contents, her proper debut album builds upon the filthy flows that made her preceding Tina Snow project and its breakout single “Big Ole Freak” such an essential listen. Over live-wire beats informed less by purple drank and slab cars than by Cash Money and Hypnotize Minds, she doles out sex positivity and hustles wisdom about female empowerment in anthems like "Dance" and "Money Good." Boasting a rare and deadly approach both lyrical and diabolical, she clowns hopeless imitators on “Realer” and provides ample ratchet motivation on the bassbin ruiner “Shake That.” Academy Award winner Juicy J, who produced three of Fever's cuts, doles out his legendary cosign with Southern pride, dropping a few raw bars himself on “Simon Says” alongside Megan’s characteristically raw ones.

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