Opinion: Navigating Grief Through Megan Thee Stallion's ‘Cobra’

Best-selling author Michael Arceneaux dissects the rapper's latest song, exploring its poignant resonance with grief while offering insights into the artist's resilience and the complexities of fame through global reactions.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard an artist be as forthright about hitting rock bottom as Megan Thee Stallion in her latest release, “Cobra.”

The song and its accompanying visual premiered last week via Hot Girl Productions, the Houston rapper’s new music and entertainment company – her first independent release since finally successfully severing ties with her former label, 1501 Entertainment.

On the song, the 28-year-old opens up about the obstacles she’s encountered in recent years, like the death of her parents, battles with suicidal ideation, fights with her record label, a cheating partner, and most infamously, being a victim of gun violence.

At the start of the track, Meg raps about breaking down in front of the world without much support from those around her.

"Every night I cried, I almost died / And nobody close tried to stop me / Long as everybody gettin' paid, right?"

I have very recently come to face the misfortune of losing a parent, and while the pain is still very fresh, I can already say it is the sharpest I have ever felt in my life, and I already understand just how long and painful the grief process will be.

Megan Thee Stallion attends the 2023 Video Music Awards

Megan Thee Stallion Tackles Trauma and Infidelity in New Single 'Cobra'

For Meg, unfortunately, that journey has been complicated with even more loss, plus needless conflict and tragedy.

Only two weeks after losing her mom, Holly Aleece Thomas, in March 2019 due to a brain tumor, Megan’s grandmother passed away a mere two weeks later. The following year, she found herself the victim of gun violence after her then “friend,” Tory Lanez, shot her in the foot in July 2020 – resulting in her hospitalization and, subsequently, a contentious and highly publicized legal trial where many questioned her credibility.

Not only was Meg not allowed to grieve in peace, but she also became the villain in her victimization.

She is blunt about how much this all weighed on her.

"At night, I'm sittin' in a dark room thinkin'/ Probably why I always end up drinkin'/ Yes, I'm very depressed/How can somebody so blessed wanna slit they wrist?"

The lyrics continue: “Never thought a bitch like me would ever hit rock bottom/ Man, I miss my parents, way too anxious, always cancel my plans."

On a single track, Meg is touching on suicidal ideation, anxiety, grief, low libido, and infidelity in her life.

Ultimately, the song is about Megan rising above her troubles, and as she explained on social media, “Cobras exemplify courage and self-reliance. 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.”

To her fans, the hotties, the song has been received exactly as intended.

Then there are other responses I’ve found across social media, ranging from a fixation on the more salacious details found on “Cobra” to a focus on the commercial reception of the song versus its content.

Megan Thee Stallion Settles Long-Running Legal Battle With 1501 Certified Ent.

The former, that’s centered on the second verse where reveals that she was cheated on: "Pulled up, caught him cheatin'/ Gettin' his d*ck sucked in the same spot I'm sleepin'."

People’s suspicions immediately pointed in the direction of her ex-boyfriend, Pardison Fontaine, best known as Pardi, who further fanned the flames by seemingly responding to the song via Instagram Story by posting a meme of Future expressing that it’s a “cold world” followed by a snapshot of Tristan Thompson laughing.

Meanwhile, Pardi’s new girlfriend, Jada Kingdom, was more direct, slamming fans online for lumping her into their mess.

Pardi is the same man who proudly boasted of getting “feminist” tattooed on his stomach yet — and while I suppose feminists can allegedly cheat too, I’d like to think the reaction to bad behavior would not be to post memes of cheating men to mock the hurt one’s actions caused an ex-partner.

I can understand the curiosity behind Meg’s revelation. Still, what matters most is the continued pattern of the people close to Meg not being considerate of her feelings. Sadly, if there’s any constant in Meg’s public life, a lack of empathy and grace has been extended to her. Moreover, the habit of people openly making fun of her pain.

She has never deserved the vitriol that strangers have hurled at her; she deserves it even less from those who know her.

And then there was the other silly reaction to the release — the immediate obsession with its chart performance.

I feel like an old man hollering at the moon whenever I put this out, but the commercial reaction to a song is not everything. Still, for what it’s worth, “Cobra” became the biggest YouTube debut in 24 hours for any solo female hip-hop artist this year, while the song itself brought in 1.04 million streams on Spotify in 24 hours.

Regardless of how it performed last week, this week, and the weeks after, the song is a triumph.

It is one of the most honest songs about mental health that we have heard from a male or female rapper in quite some time. So what does it matter how many streams or views it got in a day or week or whether or not some other female rapper is sneak dissing Meg behind the admissions she shared?

I wish more would make an effort to understand better how hard it must be for her to navigate life right now amidst so much loss and pain. It frustrates me how so many people continue to lack empathy regarding her. Her perseverance after all that she has endured in such a short time at her young age is commendable and should be celebrated and championed.

It is a shame some folks online and formally in her personal and professional circles can’t see that. Still, as a person (also from Houston) who is presently carrying around a lot of pain and grief with me, worried about how I’m going to crawl my way out of what feels like rock bottom, I hope Megan Thee Stallion knows just how inspiring she is to many and how happy many of us are that she’s still here.

Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of "I Can’t Date Jesus," "I Don’t Want To Die Poor," and the forthcoming "I Finally Bought Some Jordans."

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