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Thee Houston Hottie

Megan Thee Stallion is an incredible, record-breaking rapper; and she is brimming with other talents.

Source: Variety

Songwriter, rapper, college student, empowering woman, horror screenwriter; these are just a few of the titles that can describe rap sensation Megan Thee Stallion. Megan got her start, like many musicians, on SoundCloud but is now one of the most popular names in music, with hits like “Savage” and her latest collaboration with Cardi B, “WAP.” 

While Megan is quickly becoming one of the most famous women in the world, it still feels like a majority of people only know a few of her songs and don’t know much about her life/backstory. It’s about time for a Houston Hottie history lesson.

Megan Thee Stallion is originally from Houston, as many of her fans already know. Her mother, Holly Thomas, was Megan’s first introduction to the rap scene. Holly rapped under the name “Holly-Wood” and she frequently brought her daughter to recording sessions with her. Those days spent listening to her mother in the studio inspired Megan to pursue a career in music. Megan often attributes her mother as being her biggest influence. 

Although Holly supported Megan’s burgeoning music career to its full extent, she also stressed the importance of her daughter pursuing an education. Megan graduated from high school in 2013 and attended Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, for her bachelor’s degree.

“I’m the baddest bitch walkin’ round on campus.” – Mustard and Mayonnaise (Make It Hot, 2017)

It was on this campus that Megan first started gaining traction on the internet. Videos of Megan battling her fellow classmates in freestyle competitions began to circulate on the internet and gave some credit to her name. While she was attending Prairie View A&M, she was also chastised for her twerking videos and even had to sit through a meeting with administrators about her “behavior” on campus. Despite her somewhat controversial image at Prairie View, Megan continued to post videos of her freestyling on Instagram. Eventually, she gathered enough praise and fans to put her studies on hold so she could focus on her music.

Megan released some of her first singles, such as “Like a Stallion” and “Stalli Freestyle,” on SoundCloud. Eventually, she released three mixtapes total on SoundCloud: “Like a Stallion,” “Rich Ratchet” and “Megan Mix.”

Her first commercially released mixtape was “Make It Hot” in 2017, with hits like “Mustard and Mayonnaise” and “Last Week in HTx.” “Last Week” was the most popular single off of the album and the music video garnered several million views on YouTube. Shortly after the release of that music video, Megan signed with 1501 Certified Entertainment, an independent record label based in Houston. 

Megan quickly began working on her first extended play, or EP as they are commonly called, after signing with 1501. While working on the album, Megan performed at South by Southwest in March of 2018, her first performance as an officially signed artist. A couple of months later, Megan graced listeners with the release of her EP, “Tina Snow,” in June. The EP received positive reviews, drawing in more and more fans with hits like “WTF I Want,” “Neva” and “Big Ole Freak.” “Big Ole Freak” became Megan’s first song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list, debuting at 99 on the list and eventually working its way up to number 65.

“Bitch it’s Tina Snow, they love me ‘cause I’m cold.” – Big Ole Freak (Tina Snow, 2018)

Source: GIPHY

Even though her music career was rapidly taking over her life, Megan never gave up her commitment to finishing her education. After leaving Prairie View A&M, Megan enrolled in online classes at Texas Southern University. In February of this year, Megan told Rolling Stone that she only had a few more classes left until she was finished with her degree in healthcare management. She’s continuing to drop record-breaking music all the while being a part-time college student. 

Megan released her “debut mixtape,” “Fever,” on May 17, 2019. The mix featured collaborations with DaBaby and Juicy J. Notable songs from the record include “Cash Shit (feat. DaBaby),” “Pimpin,” “Realer,” and “Sex Talk.” The mix accumulated positive reviews and was called one of the best albums of 2019 by five different publications, including Billboard, Rolling Stone and Paper. Paper even called it the number one album of 2019.

In the summer of 2019, it seemed like everyone in America was determined to have a “hot girl summer” but no one seemed to know where the term came from. Megan originally used the term in a tweet dating all the way back to April of 2018. In an interview with The Root in June of 2019, Megan defined a “hot girl summer” as “women – and men – just being unapologetically them, just having a good-ass time, hyping up your friends, doing you, not giving a damn about what nobody got to say about it.” There’s the definition, literally from the horse’s mouth. 

Of course, with the catchphrase, came (what I think is) one of the best songs of last summer. “Hot Girl Summer” was a single released by Megan in August of 2019, featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign. The song swiftly rose on the charts, becoming number one on both U.S. Billboard Rhythmic and Rolling Stone Top 100 charts. “Hot Girl Summer” also debuted and peaked at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In December of 2019, the song became platinum with one million sales in the U.S. 

Source: GIPHY

After her Hot Girl Summer, Megan was gaining more and more recognition and 2020 was, and is, no different. On March 6, 2020, Megan released another EP, called “Suga.” The EP featured incredible tracks, like “Captain Hook” and “Hit My Phone (feat. Kehlani),” but the song that enraptured the teens of America was “Savage.” After TikTok user Keara Wilson started the trend, thousands of TikTok users across the country and the world turned “Savage” into a dance challenge and used the chorus to create creative and sometimes humorous videos. In fact, there was even a “Tiger King” parody TikTok video of someone impersonating Joe Exotic and creating his own lyrics to the song. “Savage” eventually became the most listened to song on TikTok for the month of March with over 7.5 billion plays. 

As if the song could get any bigger, Megan dropped a remix of “Savage” with one of the most prominent names in the music industry and one of her personal biggest influences: Beyoncé. The remix was released about a month after the EP and it became a surefire hit within hours. It became Megan’s first number one song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list. It was also number one on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Songs, Rhythmic Chart, and Rolling Stone’s Top 100. The song has sold over two million units as of July of this year. In addition to all those accomplishments, all proceeds from the remix went to Bread of Life Houston’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Thee Stallion and the B can do it all.

“Texas up in this thang, put you up on this game. IVY PARK on my frame, gang, gang, gang, gang. If you don’t jump to put jeans on, baby, you don’t feel my pain.” – Savage Remix (Savage Remix, 2020)

Sadly, Megan hit an unfortunate setback in July of this year. After attending a party in Hollywood, Megan was rushed to the hospital. For a while, the police nor anyone else would release information about what happened. Finally, on July 15, Megan issued a statement on her Instagram that described what had transpired: she had “suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me.” Fans everywhere offered Megan lots of love and prayers for a quick recovery.

However, not everyone was nearly as understanding. Apparently there were people all over the internet spreading misinformation and making the light of the situation, which is unfortunately common when something traumatic happens to a celebrity. When Megan should’ve been recovering and dealing with her trauma, she was instead confronted with hundreds of trolls online.

Source: @theestallion (Megan Thee Stallion) on Twitter

Finally, on August 20, Megan released a series of live videos that clarified the traumatic night. She confirmed that fellow rapper Tory Lanez shot her. She detailed how, even with bullet holes in her feet, she did not want to report her shooter to the police out of fear of how they would react. 

Megan issued her statement because she wanted to share her story, establish the facts of the situation and shed more light on police brutality against Black people. She wanted people to believe Black women for once and to understand that violence against women, specifically Black women, is no laughing matter.

“You can keep hating, I’m poppin’ regardless.” – Captain Hook (Suga, 2020)

While what she went through was traumatic and she needed time to heal, Megan did not let the incident stop her from continuing to climb the charts. On August 7, not even a month after getting shot, Megan released the single “WAP” with Cardi B. It’s safe to say the song quickly became a cultural phenomenon.

The song was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, with many fans praising it for its female-centered sex-positive message. Much like “Savage,” “WAP” became another popular dance challenge on TikTok. Best of all, the song greatly angered many conservative politicians and commentators. Ben Shapiro even went so far as to censor and recite the lyrics to “WAP,” which was immediately ripped apart by many, many people on the internet.

 “WAP” also broke numerous records upon its release. It had the largest opening streaming week out of any song in U.S. history and it was rapidly topped the Billboard Digital Song Sales, Streaming Songs, Hot Rap Songs, and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. The jaw-dropping music video featured some of the most talented women in the music industry including Normani, Rosalía and Mulatto.

Source: @theestallion (Megan Thee Stallion) on Instagram

Megan Thee Stallion is a formidable rapper and musician. This is fact. People know this. What people might not know is that she is also a big fan of the horror genre. In October of 2019, she produced a web series called “Hottieween” in collaboration with YouTube Music. The three-episode series was directed by fellow musician Teyana Taylor and starred Megan as a private investigator. The series featured murder, vampires and lots of spooky energy, all the while being underscored by Megan’s music. It was a beautiful and unexpected project from the Houston Hottie that I, as an avid horror fan, definitely appreciated.

Megan also surprised fans in October of last year by stating that she was working on an original horror screenplay. In an interview with Vogue, Megan shared that she has always been a fan of horror and one of her favorite movies within the genre is Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead.” She also shared, in a different interview, that she would love to collaborate with recent breakout horror director Jordan Peele on her project, something that would make horror fans everywhere scream for joy rather than fear. 

Megan has amassed a lot of respect and attention due to her confident and inspiring demeanor. However, Megan has been through a lot of pain to get to the place she is now. In addition to her traumatic injury earlier this year, Megan lost her mother Holly to brain cancer in March of last year. Megan has opened up about her grief via Instagram Live and expressed to the world how hard it has been to be in the spotlight while going through so much pain.

“Everything that I done been through made me who I am right now.” – Pimpin (Fever, 2019)

Despite her heartbreaks, Megan Thee Stallion rides on. She is committed to creating music that inspires young women everywhere to be confident in themselves, on the inside and out. She is proving to everyone that you can achieve a degree while working towards your dreams. And she is making Houston proud every single day. 

“Boy I know you wanna come kick it out in Houston, Bitch I’m from Texas.” – Last Week in HTx (Make It Hot, 2017)

Need a place where you can check out all of Megan’s top hits? Listen to “Thee Essentials” playlist on Burnt X’s Spotify (made by yours truly)!

A Guide to Grocery Shopping for college students

Grocery shopping is a common dread for many college students. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if it is a store that is unfamiliar. Not only is it a hassle to find the time to physically go to the store, but it can also be expensive. After a few laps up and down the aisles, somehow $80 has quickly disappeared, and on what? Sandwich meat, a box of cereal and eggs turns out to be the quickest money ever spent. Although it may be dreaded, grocery shopping cannot be avoided. Here are some tips to make this weekly chore more efficient and cost-effective.   

  1. Planning is the key to success at the grocery store.

Yes, planning takes time and effort, but in order to avoid overspending, food waste and an unsatisfied stomach, a plan needs to be set. Take 10 to 15 minutes before making a grocery trip to plan the purchases. Think about what meals will be made that week and if any extra ingredients are needed. Go through the fridge and pantry and check for items that have already been purchased. The easiest way to save money while shopping is to use what is already available.

  1. Schedule your trip to the store into your weekly routine. 

Block off time using the planner format that you are most comfortable with. Knowing the trip is already scheduled will make the experience at the grocery store less stressful and rushed.

  1. Download a grocery app. 

Almost every grocery store has an app that allows for online shopping, member discounts and other resources. The HEB app has several tools to make shopping easier. Users are able to scroll through HEB’s inventory and create a shopping list that is automatically organized based on the item’s location in the store. The app also showcases weekly coupons that can be stored on the user’s account and scanned during check-out.

  1. If curbside delivery is available, take advantage of doing the absolute least! 

Ordering your groceries online through curbside is the best way to keep the cart total low. While perusing the aisles in person, temptation from the infinite delicious items on the shelves is unavoidable. Ordering online with a running cart total helps prevent unnecessary and expensive snack purchases. Always check for added fees with curbside and save money by selecting time slots or days that are free.

  1. Do not forget to check expiration dates on items. 

Search through the shelves to find the date that is furthest away from the current day. This will decrease food waste and decrease the number of shopping trips.

  1. When purchasing produce pay attention to the prices.

At most stores, fruits and vegetables are priced by the pound. Do not get trapped into paying $9 for a bag of grapes (This is a mistake I made last week. Do not be me.)

  1. Purchasing spices is an easy and cheap way to take meals to the next level. 

Spices can completely change the boring chicken that has been a recurring meal for the past week into a lemon-pepper-garlic flavorful meal. Start with staple spices like Italian seasoning, garlic salt, fajita seasoning and explore from there.

  1. To save money, buy store brand items. There is typically no outstanding difference in taste or quality, but the price drop is significant.
  1. Do not shop hungry. 

Shopping while hungry will only lead to impulse purchases and overbuying that will hurt your college budget. 

The grocery store does not have to be a fearful place. Approach the shopping trip with an open mind and a simple plan. When in doubt, do not underestimate the motivation found at the sight of an empty fridge. Grocery shopping is unavoidable, so you might as well do it right.

Tips for returning to the cinema

This year, going to the movies will require more preparation than just reserving the best seats.

As movie theaters begin to reopen, studios are releasing their new films as a push to get audiences back. On August 28, Disney released “The New Mutants”, it is the latest installment to the X-Men franchise. Followed by Christopher Nolan’s time thriller, “Tenet.”

Many theaters around Austin are marketing these two films as the return to the movies. For some audiences, they are, but it’s important to remember that we are still going through a pandemic. As of now, more movies are on the way, so if you are considering buying that ticket. Please keep in mind these tips to protect yourself.

Wear a Mask.

Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

No matter where you go these days, masks are a must. Theaters will be requiring masks for all audiences, so make sure you have one. Wear a nice cloth mask that fits your face, and even an N-95 mask if you can find one. Disposable masks are fine, but when you’re in a theater for 90 minutes, a more secure mask would be better.

Pick your seat wisely.

Go for a showing in a big theater that’s empty. This will make social distancing easier due to more space. If you can fit a matinee showing into your schedule, those are good too since few people go to matinee showings. When picking your seat, try your best to stay away from the aisles to avoid having people walk up and down beside you.

Avoid concessions.

Popcorn and a movie, a staple for moviegoing, but in times of a pandemic eating in a closed theater isn’t a good idea. If the movie is short, eat afterward. If the movie is long, eat before. Try your best to not eat during the movie.

Drive-in

If you want to see a movie, but you aren’t ready to go to the theater, drive-ins are an option. With the closure of theaters back in March, drive-ins have started making a comeback. There are many in the Austin area including, Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In and Doc’s Drive In Theatre. If you plan to go with friends, make sure everyone is wearing a mask unless you know they do not carry Covid-19.

Movie theaters are not 100% safe yet, and if you don’t think you can be as safe as possible, don’t go. Wait for the movie to go come on video on demand, or drive-ins. Everyone wants things to go back to normal, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, the one thing we can do is be safe.

Tips for Creating a Work Environment at Home

Classes at UT Austin are back in session, but unlike ever before they are commencing amidst a global pandemic. For many students, this means a semester full of uncertainty and adaptation especially when it comes to classes. Students are spending more time at home then ever before and the adjustment can be challenging. 

In the comfort of your own bed, you can attend lectures, talk with your professor and even take a test. It sounds like a dream come true, but in reality students are struggling to find a routine, become productive and manage their mental health. It is easy for your home to become a place of stress and responsibility instead of relaxation and nourishment. 

Regardless of if you are living in a small West Campus apartment, or a large family home, creating a work environment where you live is essential for success this semester. Here are some ways to create a space that promotes productivity, encourages rest and allows for growth and learning. 

  1. Finding your Space

Privacy is a luxury when it comes to staying home and it can be really hard to focus with families and roommates all around. When picking a place to work here is what to consider.

Assess the environment in which you like to learn. Do you like a lot of noise, some sounds, or no sound at all? If you like peace and quiet it might be best to pick a bedroom or a closet, but if you like a lot of sound and movement pick the living room or a kitchen island.

 It’s also important to note that having more than one study space is a great way to break the monotony of online school. Try separating certain tasks into certain settings. For example, when you attend class and want a quiet setting move to a small bedroom or maybe even a patio or backyard, but don’t be afraid to sit in the living room with other roommates while filling out your planner or copying notes from a powerpoint slide. 

  1. Setting up your Space

Truthfully, the way you decorate and organize your desk can be more important than its location. A cluttered desk often reflects in the quality of your study time and work. Similarly, the more organized and personalized your desk is the more likely you are to have a productive and motivated study session. 

The best way to avoid a cluttered desk is to not keep too many things on your desk. A storage organizer for your notebooks, pens, pencils and folders will help to contain the clutter. The more blank space you leave on your desk, the more room you have to spread out your study materials 

Secondly, it is important to make your desk a welcoming environment. Not only does a personalized space encourage you to study, it can also make studying more comfortable. Here are some ideas on how to personalize your desk:

  • Add pictures of your friends and family
  • Switch out your LED lamp for a warm-lit salt lamp or Christmas lights
  • Add a fuzzy blanket or pillow to your desk chair
  • Brighten your desk with a plant or greenery
  • Place a vision board above your desk
  • Add small knick-knacks or fidget toys to your desk
  • Add a candle or a small essential oil diffuser
  • Get a small weekly or monthly desk calendar

Dream with me: the day harry styles invented sleeping

 Via @AngiTaylorKISS

When I got to college, I noticed that you were either in tune with your mental health or you weren’t. With the mixture of new classes, a new campus and a completely new city while also not knowing anyone, life gets stressful. I quickly learned that keeping up with my mental health would be the best thing for me. I’m sure some of my college friends can agree. 

Throughout my first two years on campus and since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Calm app but I’ve never been one to believe in meditation or sleep tactics. What was the final push I needed to give it a try? Harry Styles. The Calm team decided it was a good idea to partner with the singer to create a bedtime story for their sleep category and I couldn’t agree with them more. 

Now, let me explain myself before the inevitable judgement begins. I’ve been a fan of Harry Styles ever since the very beginning so when I found out he was going to narrate a bedtime story for Calm, I was definitely not calm. His music is already therapy in itself so I couldn’t even imagine what a bedtime story would do.

    Via @nypost

The audio was released July 8th and I was frantically refreshing the page until it was available. I’m an honest woman so I would be lying if I told you I didn’t laugh at first when listening to the first few words in this ASMR-style bedtime story titled “Dream with Me.” It was a lot to take in. I just couldn’t picture Harry Styles sitting down, leaning into a mic and whisper-talking into it. Picture that. You can’t. For those of you who haven’t given it a listen, Harry takes you on a journey through multiple landscapes while describing the scene with his too-good British accent. From the stars to the valleys, you’ll go on a world tour in just 30 minutes. 

That night, I had actually wanted to get a good night sleep and was hoping this would help. Maybe even ditch the melatonin sitting on my bedside table. My sleep schedule has been completely thrown off guard, as I’m sure most of you can relate to. Now, I couldn’t tell you what he was saying or what the story was about but all I know is that whatever they did, it worked. I was out like a light within what felt like a few minutes. The half-an-hour mixture of ambient sounds paired with his slow, soothing voice allowed me to drift off into the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. I don’t want to say too much to where I spoil it for you but I obviously recommend listening. 

On another note, the audio has become somewhat of a meme on Twitter. Because of Harry’s accent, some of the words he pronounces just sound odd but in the best way possible. I’ll let you watch for yourself.

Harry isn’t the only celebrity that you can have read you to sleep. Our very own Matthew McConaughey has also narrated a bedtime story for those who would like to feel alright, alright alright. The Calm app also has several other advantages besides having celebrities narrate bedtime stories. Under the meditation tab, there’s a ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ that I have been trying out to help meditate and clear my mind and I am honestly very surprised at how well my mind and body relax to it. If you were like me and didn’t believe it could help you, give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are also specific categories you can pick to help guide your meditation. Besides that, you can take a look at the library of calming music they have. They have plenty of lo-fi beats for you to study to if you’re into that. 

You can get a subscription to the app here: https://www.calm.com

Happy listening!