On November 4th, Drake and 21 Savage released a collaborative album entitled “Her Loss.” His creative advertising approach included a fake Vogue edition and Cartier ads, as well as actor Michael B. Jordan calling it “one of the most relatable albums of all time” in a fake SNL performance. However, the album also garnered its fair share of controversy, specifically for a lyric insinuating that rapper Megan Thee Stallion lied about rapper Tory Lanez shooting her in 2020. While it’s common to shade other artists in songs, the nerve-hitting lyric typifies the broader issue of the mistreatment of women in rap.
In the track “Circo Loco” from “Her Loss”, Drake wrote not one, but two lines that were likely directed at Megan. In one line, he said “Shorty said she graduated she ain’t learn enough;” thee Stallion graduated from Texas Southern University last year. In the more incriminating lyric, Drake rapped “This bitch lie about getting shot but she still a stallion.” The latter is not only more direct, as it references Megan’s stage name and the shooting scandal, but it also accuses her of lying about the event.
According to Megan, the shooting occurred in July 2020 after a pool party at fellow celebrity Kylie Jenner’s house. In an interview with CBS, Megan explained that a disagreement broke out because “[she] was ready to go and everybody else wasn’t ready to go” and emphasized that she thought it was a “silly” argument between friends. However, soon after, Megan claims as she was walking to her car, Lanez said “dance b****” and shot at her feet “a couple of times.” The shots allegedly wounded her so badly she had to get surgery that night and stayed in the hospital for four days. In her interview with CBS, Megan discussed a medical report stating that she still has bullet fragments in her foot. She posted a photo of the injury on Instagram, but it has since been deleted.
Megan admitted to initially lying to the police about the incident, explaining she was worried about Lanez’s safety amidst the Black Lives Matter protests and history of police brutality against African Americans. However, she pressed charges after Lanez allegedly offered her money to keep quiet, and he pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges in November 2020. In April 2022, Lanez was arrested again for attempting to contact her, breaking court orders to stay away from her. Megan had an exclusive interview with CBS that same month where she discussed the alleged assault in the public eye for the first time.
Megan responded by posting several tweets attacking Drake and 21 for the lyric and addressing the fact that other rappers also chose to support Lanez. Without mentioning either of the rappers by name, Megan appeared to address the “Her Loss” team by tweeting “Since when tf is it cool to joke abt women getting shot!” She also insinuated that they only attacked her for clout, writing “I know I’m very popular but y’all gotta stop attaching weak a** conspiracy theories to my name” and “stop using my shooting for clout…” Finally, Megan seemed to speak directly to fans of rappers like Drake of 21 who didn’t take her seriously or directly supported Lanez, tweeting “And when the mf facts come out remember all y’all h** a** favorite rappers that stood behind a ***** that SHOT A FEMALE.”
Drake and 21’s jab in “Her Loss” isn’t the first time a popular rapper appeared to take sides regarding the shooting. A multitude of celebrities shared their support for Megan publicly, including TI and Chance the Rapper. Cardi B also posted a video about the shooting expressing sympathy for Megan, saying “she don’t have a mom, she don’t have a dad, she don’t got nobody to cry to” and asking viewers “why would somebody lie about getting shot?” Cardi also addressed the harassment Megan’s received for not immediately speaking out, stating that “they harassed her until she f****** had to speak.”
However, other rappers like Drake and 21 have minimized Megan’s claims by making light of them or implying she was responsible for the shooting. In her CBS interview, interviewer Gayle King asked Megan about the “nature” of her relationship with Lanez. Megan explained they were “very close” and bonded over both losing their mothers. When asked if the relationship was sexual as Lanez has claimed, Megan paused before saying it was not. After the interview was released, rapper 50 Cent posted the clip regarding Megan and Lanez’s relationship on Instagram with a caption stating “Now that I don’t believe, she had to think about her answer.” 50 Cent’s response ties into Lanez’s defense in which he claims Megan is making up the story because she’s angry Lanez slept with her friend. In a consequent tweet, Megan released texts that she claims show Lanez apologizing for shooting her, he wrote “good d*** had me f****** 2 best friends… and I got caught… that’s what I apologized 4.”
Unfortunately, the lack of support for female rappers is not a new phenomenon. Megan experienced the effect herself alongside Cardi B after the release of their hit song “WAP.” The song was criticized for its sexual lyrics, with Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson claiming the song was “aimed at young girls” and alluded to the fact that male performer James Brown could be “sexually suggestive”, but not Megan or Cardi. Needless to say, male rappers have written sexually explicit songs just as frequently as female rappers, if not more frequently.
Cardi B addressed the double standard for female rappers following her 2019 performance at the BET awards, stating that “Female rappers have to bust their ass on performances, great visuals, hours on make up, hours on hair, pressure by the public to look perfect, make great music, and yet are the most disrespected.” Two years prior, Cardi B became the first solo female rapper in 19 years to achieve the number one spot on the US Billboard charts with her song “I Like It.” Nicki Minaj, considered by many to be the ‘queen of rap’, also contributed to the dialogue in a separate instance. She tweeted that “In any field, women must work TWICE as hard to even get HALF the respect her male counterparts get.”
Despite shading Megan in “Circo Loco,” 21 imitated her flow in her hit song “Savage” and even directly quoted her in “Rich Flex”, which resulted in her being listed as a contributor to the song. Hence, Drake and 21 demonize Megan while simultaneously profiting off of her work. The irony is apparent, but hardly surprising. As female rappers dominate the rap world, the intrinsic misogyny of the industry rears its ugly head.