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Five on it: Megan Thee Stallion conducts business on her own terms with Traumazine

Thee hotness is back with a fierce new track that slays her critics, plus new music from Isabella Lovestory, Stefflon Don, Sudan Archives and insha.

25 Aug 2022

Live Nation

Megan Thee Stallion has never been one to shy away from anything, be it confrontation, the limelight, or cold, hard graft. International superstar rapper? Check. College graduate? Check. Shrewd businesswoman? Double check – this week she implied her record label, 1501 Entertainment, leaked her new album against her will, the same company she’s simultaneously suing for $1 million in damages for unpaid royalties and is desperate to escape their “entirely one-sided” contract.

The label battle is just one of many hurdles Megan has endured since her rise to stardom. In 2020, rapper and former friend Tory Lanez shot her in the foot and left her hospitalised; the same year her sexually-charged Cardi B collaboration ‘W.A.P’ received fierce backlash from uptight social conservatives. Often unfair and unjust, everyone seems to have an opinion on Megan Thee Stallion that clouds the quality of the music itself. Dropping unprecedentedly, her sophomore effort Traumazine sees her replace the alter egos in favour of her most daring character yet: herself.

Reflecting on the all-seeing eye of the media and the part it plays in both enabling and prolonging her trauma, Traumazine captures the position of a Black woman succeeding against the odds – as a creative, an entrepreneur, in education – whilst navigating scenarios that would see a less astute person unravel. Megan does not allow for unravelling, or, perhaps sadly, even softness: on Traumazine she reinforces her alpha status, taking what’s rightfully hers as opposed to waiting to be recognised. 

In her own words: “I’m done with being humble coz I know that I’m that bitch.”

Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Her’

In a recent interview with Apple Music, Megan reflected on her songwriting process, saying: “Usually when I write songs, I could be sad and I’ll write a song like ‘Body’, or I could be pissed off and I’ll write a song like ‘Freak Nasty’. I don’t write songs about how I feel, I write songs about how I wanna feel”, adding that Traumazine is the first time that she has been able to express herself more. Whilst Traumazine clocks some hard hitters in ‘NDA’ or recent outing ‘Plan B’, lead single ‘Her’ celebrates the glory of strong, independent women. Another artist dipping into the current house resurgence, the track packs a punch and club-ready bounce as Megan pants to the heat of the beat.

Isabella Lovestory – ‘Sexo Amor Dinero’

Dropping with the announcement of her new project, Amor Hardcore, Honduran-born London-based sensation Isabella Lovestory deploys a potent sound soon to be synonymous with the moniker of her new album. Pouring industrial beats over chunky club rhythms before dousing the concoction in hip-wriggling reggaeton, latest single ‘Sexo Amor Dinero’ is as unapologetic, gritty, and frank as its title (that’s ‘Sex Love Money’, fyi, and the video is as intense as it sounds). Describing the track as a “sensory overload”, Isabella encapsulates it “as if an alien comes down to Earth and experiences the hottest things being a human has to offer (sex, love, money) and gets addicted to them, can’t get enough.”

Stefflon Don and Spice – ‘Clockwork’

It’s hard to believe that she’s still to release a debut album, but Five On It regulars should know by now that Stefflon Don is a firm favourite. Adding a dash of Spice into the mix with new single ‘Clockwork’, the Queen of Dancehall brings additional Caribbean flavour to her proudly Jamaican sound. Brisk, evocative percussion dares listeners to join its irresistible groove, whilst its moody production entices with an inkling of dangerous temptation. The track arrives just in time to celebrate the first Notting Hill Carnival in three years. “This track is a celebration of my Jamaican heritage and I wanted to make sure that shone through in all its elements,” she says. “It’s a song made for Carnival; to dance to, drink to and party to. I can’t wait to hear it around London on the sound systems it was made for.”

Sudan Archives – ‘NBPQ (Topless)’

What is an “NBPQ”? Well, Sudan Archives makes that explicitly clear in her new single, quipped “Topless”. Arriving ahead of the anticipated new album Natural Brown Prom Queen (get it?), the track encapsulates everything about Sudan that makes her unparalleled as an artist, from the curious experimentation and opposition of classical infusion, to her razorblade precision. Underpinned by brisk handclaps and a wriggling rhythm, ‘NBPQ’ carries a near-frenetic urgency around its throbbing bassline, Sudan repeating the mantra of “I’m not average” to biblical effect. Accompanied by a dizzying Alice in Wonderland evoking video, Sudan describes the track as “a song of redemption and freedom” and “about my insecurities that I have being a brown skin Black female in the world and how to navigate through that while facing American beauty standards.”

insha – ‘DGMTS’

Standing for ‘Don’t Give Me That Shit’, the title feels at odds with the gossamer beauty of her new single, but insha’s intricately woven sound belies a hardened underbelly. Underpinned by a moody resilience, ‘DGMTS’ shows her at the vulnerable heart of late night solitude, chewing over dark thoughts and finding rebirth in the dawn. Comparisons to Billie Eilish or Beabadoobee are inevitable, yet warranted. “I write by letting random things come out of my mouth and sometimes being shocked at what comes spilling out,” insha shares. “But that is music and that is art. ‘DGMTS’ captures everything I was feeling at the time in music… Everything always gets better.”

This article was amended on 26 August to state that Isabella Lovestory is Honduran-born. An earlier version mistakenly said she was Mexican-born.

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