Hot girl summer highlights: Cardi B, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion
Back in 2016, Lizzo — a young and hungry breakout from Minneapolis with a brand-new collection of feel-good rap jams called "Coconut Oil" — scorched the stage in a revelatory opening set at Austin City Limits Festival. Unfazed by the blazing sun, she was surrounded by a posse of women, her fabulous “Big Girls” dance team. Lizzo dropped knowledge, she booty-rocked, she preached soul-fire and self-love.
The members of her all-female crew, she explained to the American-Statesman after the set, were women she’d worked with for years. That support system helped her to blossom as an artist. When women get together, “the universe just conspires with us,” she said. “We can do amazing things. Supernatural things almost.”
Fast-forward three years, and female rappers are breaking through like never before. Lizzo returns to ACL Fest with her ubiquitous single “Truth Hurts” at the top of the Billboard charts. She’ll play a Sunday evening set that will segue into a headline performance from hip-hop superstar Cardi B, who drew record-breaking crowds to the Houston Rodeo earlier this year.
Thanks to Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who plays Weekend Two of the festival, the Sunday night one-two punch reminds us that we're at the end of a hot girl summer.
The hot girl summer meme sprang from the fan community for Megan, a curve-flaunting rhyme spitter with a shotgun flow and a passion for gleefully obscene sex rhymes. Shortly after she dropped her mixtape “Fever,” with blaxploitation-style cover art that declared her “thee hot girl” bringing “thee heat,” fans began posting photos of themselves, sexy and stunting. Lounging by pools and fly rides, hanging with friends, handling their business, Megan's "hotties" hashtagged the shots #hotgirsummer.
As the meme began to catch fire in June, Megan explained it to online publication the Root on the red carpet of the BET Awards: “It’s just basically about 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.”
About 700,000 Instagram posts later, Megan successfully trademarked the phrase.
In essence, hot girl summer is about living your best life — something that Megan, flamboyant chart-burner Cardi B and goddess of self-love Lizzo have been doing all summer long. Here are a few hot girl summer highlights from ACL Fest’s top rap queens.
June 23: BET Awards and the flute solo heard round the world
Cardi B, the ceremony's most nominated artist of the night, began her evening perched on husband Offset’s lap, spitting her verse on his hit “Clout.” Then, flanked by a squadron of glitter-braided commandos, she eviscerated her haters on “Press.” Before the night was up, she’d take home the trophies for best female rapper and album of the year for “Invasion of Privacy.”
Meanwhile, Lizzo’s show-stopping performance of “Truth Hurts,” a song that was just beginning to catch fire, was a career-catapulting moment for the ages. Surrounded by dancers decked out in bridal finery, she climbed down from a wedding cake to deliver a fierce ode to self-love that also happens to be the most empowering break-up jam of the 21st century. She laid on the charm with theatrically expressive dance moves and slayed the scrub who wronged her with fiery pipes. When she whipped a flute out of thin air to put a trilling exclamation point on the whole affair, spirits soared. The crowd, including superstar diva Rihanna, leapt to their feet.
July 23: Megan slaughters XXL’s Freshman Cypher
Over a stormy jam from DJ Scene, Megan and North Carolina rapper DaBaby wiped the floor with fellow rappers YK Osiris and Lil Mosey in hip-hop magazine XXL’s annual breakout artist freestyle round. Worth noting: DaBaby has a feature on Megan’s album “Fever,” and he did a remix of “Truth Hurts” with Lizzo that dropped in late August.
Aug. 7: Hot girl squared: Lizzo and Megan hang out in Houston
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Two of our favorite ladies of hip-hop linked up in Houston for a homegirl hang that was everything we dreamed it would be. Megan showed us her best booty moves as Lizzo played the flute version of Too Short classic “Shake that Monkey.” Then she convinced Lizzo to “drive the boat,” her code for a hot girl summer rite of initiation that involves pouring shots of Cognac down the throats of her friends and loved ones. “Real hot girl (expletive)! Real Houston (expletive)!” Megan yelled.
Aug. 9: Megan’s “Hot Girl Summer” drops
Can a celebratory summer trend survive on memes alone? We didn’t have to find out this go-round. Megan teamed up with Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign to provide the sexy soundtrack to a million sun soaked selfies.
Aug. 15: Cardi B speaks out for political engagement
As even a casual observer could tell you, Cardi B is a fan of extravagantly bejeweled, claw-like nail extensions. She's also a fan of progressive politician Bernie Sanders. She blended her passions during a meet-up with the Vermont senator at Ten Nail Bar in Detroit. Before chatting with the Democratic presidential candidate, Cardi polled her social media followers on the issues that mattered to them. Then, sounding like a seasoned pundit, she led an informative discussion about criminal justice reform, wage inequality, immigration and health care. Cardi and Bernie also bonded over their mutual love of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Aug. 26: Our ladies rock the VMAs
MONEY MUSIC VIDEO I GAVE LOOKS,CHOREOGRAPHY AND A WHOLE LOTTA FAT ASS!— iamcardib (@iamcardib)August 27, 2019
At MTV's celebrity bash, Cardi B took home the Moonman for best hip-hop video for “Money,” and Lizzo performed a jubilant, wig-flipping rendition of “Good As Hell.” But Megan also caused a stir, taking the trophy in the fan-voted power anthem category for “Hot Girl Summer,” despite the fact that the bootylicious video for everyone’s favorite pool party jam didn’t come out until Sept. 3, a week after the show.
Sept. 5: Lizzo covers Elle magazine’s Women in Music issue
After a summer spent redefining beauty standards and preaching the gospel of self-love, Lizzo broke down her motivation in a moving profile. “I take self-love very seriously,” she told the magazine. “And I take it seriously because when I was younger, I wanted to change everything about myself. I didn’t love who I was. And the reason I didn’t love who I was is because I was told I wasn’t lovable by the media, by (people at) school, by not seeing myself in beauty ads, by not seeing myself in television ... by lack of representation. My self-hatred got so bad that I was fantasizing about being other people. But you can’t live your life trying to be somebody else. What’s the point?”
Sept. 10: A 100% delicious Cookie Monster collab
EVEN WHEN ME CRUMBLE CRAZY ME GOT SHORTBREAD PROBLEMS THATS THE MONSTER IN ME - NOM NOM - THEN ME EAT EM THATS THE COOKIE IN ME https://t.co/bKrjcnp5Ve— |L I Z Z O| (@lizzo)September 10, 2019
It started when everyone’s favorite shaggy blue cookie gobbler took to Twitter with a pop culture-savvy announcement set to the tune of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”: “Me just took a DNA test, turns out me 100% cookies.” It was hilarious in and of itself, but then Lizzo jumped in and finished the verse: “Even when me crumble crazy, me got shortbread problems/That’s the monster in me/Nom nom, then me eat ’em/That’s the cookie in me.” Oh snap! The internet took over from there, baking up a perfect sweet tooth remix.
Sept. 16: “Hustlers” triumphant
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I COULD CRY DONT LAUGH YALL!!! This is my literal DREAM!! I always wanted to go to the strip club and have my song play while I was throwing STACKS at these beautiful performers and baddies... like ask ANYONE on my team... I always thought I wasn’t cool enough but BITCH Atlanta and the beautiful women at Allure made my dream come TRUUUUUUU✨ bless you! Stream TRUTH HURTS and watch HUSTLERS @hustlersmovie
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When Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts in early September, Cardi B was among the first to offer congratulations. “The fact that Lizzo a couple months ago felt underestimated and now she have a #1! ... Take that! Take that! Makes me emotional ... It’s the best feeling in the world,” the “Bodak Yellow” rapper wrote on Twitter. A few weeks later, the crime flick “Hustlers” — featuring Lizzo and Cardi B in brief roles — hit theaters, raking in $33 million on its opening weekend. Lizzo celebrated having the top song and the top movie in the country by rolling out to a strip club in Atlanta and throwing stacks of cash to the sound of “Truth Hurts.”
Hot Girl Fall
Where do the hot girls of summer go when the temperatures drop? They continue to rise. Megan signed to Jay-Z's Roc-a-fella Records. Lizzo will join Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish on the Jingle Ball tour in December. Cardi B has a new hip-hop competition show with Chance the Rapper and Quavo set to debut Oct. 9 on Netflix. She's also reportedly in talks with Fran Drescher about a reboot of "The Nanny" which we are here for.
AT ACL FEST
Catch Cardi B at 8 p.m. Sunday during the first weekend on the Honda stage. Catch Lizzo at 7 p.m. Sunday both weekends on the Miller Lite stage. Catch Megan Thee Stallion at 1:15 p.m. during the second weekend on the Miller Lite stage.
MORE HIP-HOP AT ACL FEST
Childish Gambino: 8 p.m. Saturday, American Express, both weekends
Lil Uzi Vert: 6 p.m. Friday, Honda, both weekends
21 Savage: 7 p.m. Saturday, T-Mobile, both weekends
Tierra Whack: 3 p.m. Saturday, T-Mobile, both weekends
Duckwrth: 1:15 p.m. Sunday, T-Mobile, both weekends
Taylor Bennett: 1:15 p.m. Saturday, T-Mobile, both weekends
Ray Emmanuel: 4:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Austin Kiddie Limits, Weekend Two only
Abhi the Nomad: 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Weekend Two only
Denzel Curry: 2 p.m. Saturday, Honda, Weekend Two only
Blackillac: 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Vrbo, Weekend Two only
Armani White: 11:45 a.m. Saturday, T-Mobile, Weekend Two only
IDK: 3:15 p.m. Sunday, BMI, Weekend Two only