There was a moment when Megan Thee Stallion was in the studio laying down her latest single, “Cobra,” that hit like an epiphany. Session musician Diggy Lessard had just finished unleashing an epic guitar solo from his Gibson SG when the rapper proclaimed: “This is it. This is that thing right there. This hasn’t been done before,” according to Lessard. “That’s just another testament to how crucial she was to the process,” the 25-year-old guitarist tells me. “She just knew exactly what we were creating in that moment.”
That’s not to say guitar solos in rap are an entirely new thing — there’s even a playlist dedicated to the phenomena on Spotify — but for Megan, the ripping chords that kick off the searing track about depression and exploitation, combined with raw, spiraling solo that closes it, mark yet another evolution for an artist already way beyond anyone else in the game. Now independent after settling a lengthy lawsuit with her former record label, 1501 Entertainment, Megan is calling all the shots — from guitar solos to everything else. “The budget is coming from me. Motherfucking Hot Girl Productions,” she shared on a recent Instagram Live. “The next shit y’all about to see is all straight from Megan Thee Stallion’s brain, Megan Thee Stallion’s wallet. We in my pockets, hotties, so let’s do our big one.”
Lessard didn’t know what to expect when his friend T. Farris — Megan’s long-time manager — told him to roll up to a session in L.A. with his Gibson. Lessard, who’d moved from upstate New York after dropping out of college in 2018, had played live and on a few tracks in the past, but nothing had prepared him for what he was about to walk into. That’s not to say that Lessard didn’t have chops; he grew up the son of Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard, as well as a stepfather who instilled in him a love of the guitar. He even collaborated with his father on his high school senior project, a vaudeville show based on the short story “Story of the Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst. “I think the real Proud Father moment will be playing live with him on stage and performing his music in front of an audience,” Stefan said at the time. “This is something we have not yet done together and that will be a very special experience.”
Lessard knew he’d probably meet Megan at some point — given that her manager remains one of the few people in her trusted circle — but Farris didn’t really give him a heads-up. “I just knew to come prepared,” he says. When he walked into the small studio, there were only about four people in attendance, including the rapper, who Lessard says looked “ready to lay down some heat.” They had “Cobra” pulled up, so Lessard plugged in his Gibson and got to work.
After chopping it up about their favorite anime, Megan and Lessard buckled down. “I would play a little something and she would stop me and be like, ‘Oh, you had that right there,’” he says. “And sometimes she would even sing to me like, ‘Can you play like this?’ I think it was very in the moment, very organic and I think she knew she wanted to bring that vibe in.”
The result — Megan’s first new music since 2022’s Traumazine — is a bleedingly honest track that alludes to her various struggles and her efforts to stand tall despite them: her mother’s death in 2019, her legal battles with Tory Lanez after he shot her in the foot in 2020, and her subsequent battle with depression. Lessard’s guitar — which calls to mind his heroes, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and David Gilmour — only serves to highlight and buoy Megan’s incisive bars. Haunting and brutal, the track comes to life in the jungle-themed music video directed by Douglas Bernardt, in which Megan literally sheds her skin to be born anew.
“There’s this one guitar line in the middle of the solo — I remember that moment in particular, she stood up and she started dancing next to me, showing me how she wanted that guitar line to fit with the groove and fit with the song,” Lessard recalls. “And the way that she choreographed the dance at the end of the video to go along with that guitar solo, it brings back that moment.”