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Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Rico Nasty), 'Scary'

Megan Thee Stallion has many dismissive modes, but she is often most effective as an intimidator. The Houston freestyler turned Grammy Award winner has maintained an air of presupposed superiority throughout her ascent, and when she uses her lashing lyricism to browbeat ill-wishers (both real and faceless) she reasserts her own star power.

On "Scary," an Avedon-produced standout from her new album Traumazine, she once again embraces presence as a means of intimidation, reimagining Swishahouse as a haunted house in the process. Alongside the ever-flippant Rico Nasty, she presses forward relentlessly like a slasher villain, embodying both connotations of a baddie, as both a heel and a confident, independent woman, each bar enunciated with bite. Rico, like Megan, is usually the alpha within the universe of her songs, but where her Texan compatriot plays the dominatrix, she is a taunter. "He talkin' on my name and we gon' dig a grave with you / Zombie-ass bitch, n**** gave me brain for dinner," Rico snaps. Playing with the horror theme, she zips through references to a little terror kingdom of her own making. As the song's spooky music-box chimes and Halloween synths build out a jam fit for slab music, two of rap's premier smack talkers find a demented glee in menacing those who might otherwise belittle them.

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Sheldon Pearce