After a brief (but well-deserved) professional hiatus, Megan thee Stallion has officially returned to the music world with “Cobra,” a poignant single that sees her peeling back the tough layers of her exterior to share the dark details of her past — and hint at the new energy she’s coming back to the game with.
The past few years have been incredibly difficult for the rapper, who was under immense public scrutiny following the high profile shooting that led to a drawn out battle in the legal court and in the court of public opinion. In 2020, Megan was shot by her then-friend and fellow musician Tory Lanez during a heated argument. The aftermath of the shooting was disappointing but not surprising; though Megan was the victim, not the perpetrator of the violence, she was harassed and slandered by everyone from her peers in the industry to keyboard warriors on social media. The victim blaming and misogynoir that she endured caused her mental health to suffer, and Megan revealed that she had developed severe anxiety.
“Now, I feel like my anxiety is worse,” Megan told Gayle King during a 2022 appearance on CBS Mornings. “My relationships with people have gotten very cold because I'm not as trusting as I used to be. I got this wall up, and I don't want to make any friends…I feel like every time I’m talking, I’m on the verge of tears, but I don’t want to explain to strangers why I’m crying.”
Lanez, whose legal representation maintains that he is innocent, was eventually convicted of felony assault and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. But even with her abuser behind bars, Megan was still bearing the weight of the trauma both from the shooting and from the overwhelming backlash she faced at every turn. She decided to take a break from the public eye and all but disappeared from the internet, only resurfacing here and there to share quick TikTok recaps of her time away.
Finally, Megan is back, and her latest single hints that the healing process is far from over. The newly released song “Cobra” tears a page from her personal diary, sharing the painful truth of this past season in her life. In the song, Megan details that while she was still appearing on magazine covers, winning major awards, and releasing and performing music, she was simultaneously mourning her late mother and grandmother while navigating infidelity in her relationship (presumably, fans are speculating by her most recent ex-boyfriend, rapper Pardison Fontaine.) She felt overwhelmed by the bad things that kept happening one after the other, and before Megan knew it, she had reached a dangerous low that caused her to seriously consider ending her life.
“Every night I cried, I almost died,” Megan recalls of her deep depression on the track over the slide of an electric guitar. “And nobody close tried to stop me. Long as everybody gettin' paid, right? Everything'll be okay, right?”
In the accompanying visuals for the song, Megan is reimagined as a snake, shedding her skin in front of the world. The process, much like the pain she experienced in real life, is difficult, but when the metamorphosis is complete, we are introduced to a newer, better, and more powerful version of her: Megan Thee King Cobra.
“Cobras exemplify courage and self-reliance,” Megan wrote of the inspiration behind the video’s slithering imagery on Instagram the day before its release. “They stand tall and fierce in the face of challenges, teaching one to tap into their inner strength and rely on oneself to conquer their threats. Emulating the cobra helps one be more confident in the person they are within.”
This rebirth is professional as it is personal, with “Cobra” marking her first independent release under her company Hot Girl Productions after the drawn out four-year lawsuit between Megan and former record label 1501 Certified Entertainment. The uniqueness of the sound, an electrifying fusion of rock and hip hop, and the vulnerability of its lyrics tease the beginnings of a new era for thee Hot Girl. It’s not a coincidence that she’s connected to the cobra as a symbol for this next chapter of her career; the snake is a known apex predator in the animal kingdom, notorious for eating other snakes as well as other animals double its size — likely a metaphor for Megan’s vibe going forward.
Whether she’s a stallion or a cobra, we can’t help but stan. Glad to have you back, Meg!