Megan Thee Stallion has released her much-anticipated sophomore album Traumazine.
The Houston rapper confirmed the drop on social media Thursday, just a few weeks after she revealed the project had been completed. Though she reassured the Hotties that the record would arrive sometime this summer, Megan didn’t announce a release date until key details about Traumazine had leaked.
“From my cover art, pieces of my track list and me even hearing a part of a song I haven’t dropped yet leaking (and we ALL know who the only ppl who had access to all these PRIVATE links are..) I might as well…lol,” she tweeted.
Meg accompanied the message with the album art and 18-song tracklist, which includes the previously released cuts “Sweetest Pie” featuring Dua Lipa, “Plan B,” and “Pressurelicious” with Future. The LP also boasts appearances from Latto, Pooh Shiesty, Rico Nasty, Jhené Aiko, Key Glock, Lil Keke, Sauce Walka, and Lucky Daye.
In the week leading up to the release, Megan shared a teaser as well as the definition of Traumazine: “The chemical release in the brain when it is forced to deal with pain emotions caused by traumatic events and experiences. See synonyms: self-realization.”
The road to Traumazine hasn’t exactly been the smoothest. On Wednesday, Megan took to Twitter to provide a quick update on its status while referencing the years-long dispute with her record label 1501 Certified Entertainment.
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“Y’all know I always have problems with dropping my music under this label, all these games and having to go to court just to put out my art has been so stressful,” she tweeted. “Thank you hotties for rocking with me through the bullshit WE ALMOST OUT 👏🏾 LETS STAY FOCUSED AND RUN THIS LAST ONE UP.”
Traumazine arrives less than two years after the chart-topping debut studio LP Good News and a little over nine months since Something for Thee Hotties.
Stream Megan Thee Stallion’s new album below.
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Traumazine opens with the ferocious “NDA,” a title that implies some urgent tea-spilling. The track is more so an opportunity for Megan to talk shit and issue threats to folks spreading gossip: “And the next one of y’all hoes wanna get bold / I’m gon’ check that / And the next one of y’all blogs wanna spread lies, I’m gon’ sue you.” (By “blogs,” the rapper is likely referring to social media accounts for The Shade Room and HipHopDX, which were criticized for spreading propaganda in favor of rapper Tory Lanez, who Megan alleges shot her in the foot in 2020. His trial is slated for next month.)
Speaking of that Keebler elf, some listeners might be surprised at how little Megan addresses Lanez throughout the album, given how much the incident has cast a shadow over her career. But why should she, given that she already devoted an entire diss track to him on her first album and his alleged crimes are widely known at this point? There are still plenty of enemies for Megan to verbally assassinate, including the “fake-ass, snake-ass, backstabbin’, hatin’-ass, no money-gettin’-ass bitches” she calls out on “Ungrateful,” which features fellow Southern rapper Key Glock.
On “Not Nice,” which has one of the best delivered hooks on the album, she incisively nails the intersecting realities that have made her a target of people’s hatred and apathy. “I guess my skin not light enough,” she raps matter-of-factly. “My dialect not white enough / Or maybe I’m just not shaped the way to make these n—-s givе a fuck.”
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Between the more frustrated confessionals scattered throughout the record, Megan still finds time to have fun and get freaky with songs like “Budget,” which features a fun guest verse from Latto, “Ms. Nasty,” and “Her,” which folks can add to their Renaissance-inspired dance playlists. The 10th track, “Scary,” featuring the criminally underrated Rico Nasty, is clearly Megan’s bid to usurp pop singer Kim Petras as the Queen of Halloween, with references to R.L. Stine, Candyman, and Bloody Mary; not to mention, it’s humorously set to the kind of generically spooky music you would hear at a haunted house.
The very horny “Red Wine,” where Megan invites someone to slap their dick on her forehead, would be just as fun as its lyrics if not for her shaky vocals on the hook. Indeed, Megan’s singing ability is once again a roadblock on this record, as she continues to wade into R&B, slow-jam territory but clearly hasn’t been instructed on how to properly utilize her voice or when to rely on contributions from actual singers. This problem shows up again on the subpar disco duet “Star” with R&B artist Lucky Daye, and on “Flip Flop,” in which Megan’s attempt to deliver an evocative chorus ends up sounding like a pathetic nursery rhyme.
Traumazine doesn’t really deliver on a particular concept, despite the title and corresponding visuals hinting at something more concrete and cohesive. The curation of the tracklist proves as much—why Megan chose to close this album with “Sweetest Pie,” her mediocre, pop-friendly collaboration with Dua Lipa, after a notable freestyle with Houston legends Sauce Walka and original members of the Screwed Up Click, Lil’ Keke and Big Pokey, makes no sense.
Despite these flaws, Traumazine signals growth from an artist who could easily get comfortable simply by being the one of the most popular women on the planet. Even when the production isn’t perfect, you’re reminded that no mainstream rapper is delivering such intimidating bars and witty one-liners as consistently as Megan. It’s almost frightening to think about the type of records she’ll be making in a few years’ time.