Album Review: Traumazine
Review by: Shrija Shandilya
Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion’s second studio album, Traumazine, is a perfect showcase of her iconic sound and versatility as an artist.
Megan Thee Stallion has had one of the most explosive careers of the late 2000s. Ever since her rise to fame in 2019, Megan’s influence has extended beyond the music industry. She has made strides for women in rap with her willingness to speak out about disparity in the industry. Earning 6 Grammy’s in the past 3 years, she has pioneered a unique and iconic pop culture identity along with elevating herself from being a popular female rapper to one of the great artists of this generation. In this rise to fame, she faced criticism, ridicule, and attempts to underplay her success, fueled by racism and misogyny.
Traumazine starts off hard-hitting with “NDA.” Piano-heavy and intense, this track is emotional and vulnerable yet still fast-paced. This is a perfect choice for an opener, in terms of both theme and sound. “NDA” captures Megan’s familiar style while showcasing her overall vulnerability that is seen throughout the album. This emotion is best described in “Anxiety” where Megan opens up about the pressure and underlying trauma she has as a result of her quick rise to fame. She addresses the labels placed upon her and the impact the public perception has on her. Megan is able to masterfully deliver emotional and introspective lyrics such as “they keep sayin’ I should get help, but I don’t even know what I need.” This is expertly done while maintaining her iconic sound and not slowing the pace of the album.
Due to the switch between her acclaimed pop and empowering songs to more emotional and revealing songs, the album can feel incohesive at times. More mainstream-sounding songs like “Her” almost fall flat in juxtaposition to heavier ones like “Flip Flop.” “Pressurelicious (feat. Future)” fell short compared to a song like “Plan B” in which Megan uses a Jodeci sample to create a 90’s-esque sound. Future’s feature didn’t match this creativity.
I find that this newfound variety shows Megan’s versatility. In the past, Megan has been criticized for not having range and utilizing the same flows, but Traumazine definitely debunks that claim. Songs like “Not Nice,” feel innovative and refreshing, the same with harmonies and vocals on tracks like “Consistency” and “Star.” These elements are somewhat new to Megan’s music, making them stand out. Not only are her lyrics able to prove her talent and importance, but the successful integration of new elements also affirms her status as Best New Artist, which she won at the 2021 Grammy’s.
Overall, Traumazine showcases variety while also staying true to Megan’s novelty, both sonically and lyrically. This album clearly shows Megan’s growth as an artist and this shift and exploration of new stylistic choices makes me excited to hear what is next for Megan Thee Stallion.