Hip-hop artist Megan Thee Stallion, 27, is the first Black woman to be on the cover of Forbes 30 Under 30 issue.
Forbes 30 Under 30 recognizes young entrepreneurs or industry figures who are aged 30 or younger. These young talents stem from a pool of 600 businesses, with the legacy business magazine selecting 30 individuals from one of 20 industries.
“It’s really hard to be the first something in 2022, so ahhhhh,” Megan Thee Stallion said in response to the news. “I want to be bigger than just my music. I want people to know Megan as everything that she ever wanted to be. Megan, the artist. I feel like I’ve always like to dibble and dab in a lot of different things and I feel like I got that from my mom and my dad.”
Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, whose net worth is $10 million, is the star entry, having become a rap sensation in six years or less.
The artist went from earning $500 for local performances to commanding thousands for a show. She’s secured major brand deals like her $1 million partnership with Popeyes. Another brand deal was her Cheetos Super Bowl ad, estimated to be worth $2 million.
“The cultural influence that hip-hop and artists like Megan now have is unmatched,” Stacy Taffet, a top marketing executive at Frito-Lay, told Forbes. Frito-Lay partnered with Megan to tout Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Taffet continued, “Our Super Bowl campaign with her outperformed a lot of what we’ve done in the past and exceeded all our expectations.”
While some might criticize Forbes’ decision to promote an already-established artist on the cover, the business magazine justifies Megan’s appearance by praising the rapid growth of her brand.
From her music, ticket sales and her endorsements this year, she has made about $13 million, Forbes reported.
“I can’t slow down right now,” she told the publication. “I’ll take a break when I’m dead. I’m trying to really build something. When I start sitting, I feel like I’m not doing enough or I’m giving somebody else the opportunity to pass me.”
The Building of Brand Megan
On April 10, 2016, Megan released her first single, “Like A Stallion.” She continued to expand her audience on SoundCloud, making mixtapes with some of her songs, such as “Last Week in HTx” and “Stalli”(Freestyle), going viral in 2017.
But it wasn’t until 2018-2019 that the Houston native rapper got signed to a hometown independent label called 1501 Certified Entertainment, created and owned by former Los Angeles Dodger Carl Crawford, when her career started to take form.
Under her alter ego, Tina Snow, Megan produced a 10-song extended play titled “Tina Snow” under the label, with her single and music video for “Big Ole Freak” skyrocketing on YouTube in 2019.
By the end of that year, the Houston Chronicle reported that she sold out her own concerts at the White Oak Music Hall, and she had been doing so for the third time in the past few months. She also performed at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival the following year.
“I’ve been running hard since 2019,” Megan said.
In a controversial move, Megan switched labels from 1501 to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in 2019 after achieving mainstream success. Her new New York management represented her in court against 1501, which claims Megan has yet to fulfill her contract with them.
In 2020, her song “Savage” became a sensation on TikTok. Her original version “Savage” has been used in more than 30 million TikTok videos, accompanied by the dance challenge started by TikTok creator Keara Wilson. The song got an even bigger boost with a remix version featuring Jay-Z’s wife, superstar Beyoncé.
Under Roc Nation, Megan’s celebrated her biggest song yet, with fellow rapper Cardi B, “WAP.”
“In such a short time, and all the curses in between, she’s still able to smile, hold her head up and continue,” said Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez.
Dispute her ongoing recording contract feud with 1501, 2023 is expected to be a big year for the artist. She is set to debut a world tour and second studio album as well as a documentary about her life produced by Time Inc., and a Netflix comedy TV show based on her childhood.