Megan Thee Stallion is a natural-born fighter. Not exactly in the rage-driven, play-by-play of Sofia’s “All my life I had to fight” (from “The Color Purple”) way, though.

Megan’s performance prowess lies in her sheer and often subtle essence of survival — that she often twerks her way through — while giving fans the same bona fide bravado to help fight their own battles. Such was the case during night one of the Houston rapper’s postponed Hot Girl Summer Tour at State Farm Arena Sunday night (her second show is tonight).

Before Megan even stepped on the stage, shattering odds were stacked against her. On Friday, the same day Megan was initially scheduled to perform in Atlanta, Eminem made a distasteful reference to her being shot in the foot on his new single “Houdini” (”If I was to ask for Megan Thee/Stallion if she would collab with me/Would I really have a shot at a feat?”). The rap veteran oddly added himself to the laundry list of male rappers who’ve mocked Megan’s abuse. And, later that day, massive water main breaks in Atlanta’s metro area prompted Megan to reschedule her Friday and Saturday night shows.

“That’s really crazy that a major city in the U.S. is going this long without no (expletive) water,” Megan said in an Instagram Live post on Saturday.

So by the time Sunday morning arrived — after Mayor Dickens declared a local state of emergency — Atlanta’s chances of experiencing the raunchy heat of the Hot Girl Summer Tour seemed unlikely.

But Megan prevailed — even announced a new album along the way.

Megan Thee Stallion energized State Farm Arena on Sunday, June 2, 2024 on her Hot Girl Summer Tour, with GloRilla opening the show. Due to broken water lines in Downtown Atlanta, this first of two shows was originally scheduled for Friday night.
Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

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Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

As doors opened, State Farm Arena was filled with fans of all genders mostly dressed in a mix of booty shorts, bralettes and cowboy hats. It was as if the concert’s theme was Freaknik meets Renaissance World Tour — an appropriate dress code. After all, Megan, at 29, is the only female rapper who’s performed and won Grammy Awards with Beyoncé. Sexyy Red dominated the preconcert playlist. Fans staged their own twerk session in the stands. QR codes on each seat revealed that Megan would make a special announcement during the show: her third album, “Megan,” will drop on June 28.

Hot girl summer officially arrived in Atlanta.

GloRilla, backed by vibrant dancers, opened the show around 8:30 p.m. The Memphis rapper electrified the crowd with her crunk-infused hits like “Yeah Glo!,” “Lick or Sum” and “Tomorrow 2.” For roughly 30 minutes, GloRilla and her dancers stomped so rowdy and raunchy that they’d make even gospel legend Kirk Franklin envious. Indeed, GloRilla, whose real name is Gloria Hallelujah Woods, made her set welcoming for saints and sinners alike. Toward the end of her performance, she played Tamela Mann’s gospel classic “Take Me to the King” as a prelude to her 2022 song/mantra “Blessed.” It was a delightfully comedic moment that added to the naturally funny and spiritual persona of GloRilla.

-- GloRilla
Megan Thee Stallion energized State Farm Arena on Sunday, June 2, 2024 on her Hot Girl Summer Tour, with GloRilla opening the show. Due to broken water lines in Downtown Atlanta, this first of two shows was originally scheduled for Friday night.
Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

icon to expand image

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

About 20 minutes later, Megan graced the stage. With flames adorning the stage, the Houston hottie-in-chief, dressed in an orange, curve-hugging bodysuit, kicked off the show with her no. 1 single “Hiss.” She performed the song with a searingly defiant energy and impeccable breath control that became a standard for the duration of the show.

“We finally made it,” Megan told the crowd.

Megan’s thighs must be made of steel. Across nearly 30 songs, three outfits and a few surprises, the rapper reminded the audience that her twerktastic dance skills and elite showmanship are what make her a better performer than her peers. She can shake her butt just as well as she can rap without solely relying on a backing track for over an hour. Megan glided through songs like “Thot (expletive),” “Ungrateful” and “Megan’s Piano” with the energy of a performer who’s comfortable with herself and has nothing to prove to anyone.

The most shining example of that arrived for 2019′s “Sex Talk.” She twerked as if her knees depended on it, interacted with each side of the arena and rapped each line with the fervor of a coach instructing women on sexual pleasure.

For the performance of last year’s “Cobra,” a rock-inspired single that’s her most vulnerable to date, she skips the dancing for a more intimate moment — standing still while rapping about self-harm and depression. She thanked her fans for their unwavering support during her most traumatic moments: “You are loved,” she said.

Megan Thee Stallion energized State Farm Arena on Sunday, June 2, 2024 on her Hot Girl Summer Tour, with GloRilla opening the show. Due to broken water lines in Downtown Atlanta, this first of two shows was originally scheduled for Friday night.
Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

icon to expand image

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journ

To start the latter portion of the show, Megan announced that her highly-anticipated album “Megan” will drop later this month. She didn’t say much about the album during the show, but the cover art features the artist transforming into a butterfly. She previously said that the album, the follow-up to 2022′s “Traumazine,” is about rebirth and is inspired by snakes shedding their skin (the title and visuals for her last three singles, “Boa,” “Hiss” and “Cobra” reference snakes).

“Because we’ve been having so many technical (expletive) difficulties in the city, it’s only right that y’all got a special treat,” Megan said ahead of the announcement.

That wasn’t the only surprise for Atlanta hotties, though. Clayton County rapper Latto was the show’s special guest. The pair debuted what appeared to be the remix to Latto’s hit single “Sunday Service.” A release date for the remix wasn’t announced.

Megan’s stage design was the most underwhelming part of the show. There were pictures of flames, snakes, butterflies and sexy images of the rapper on screen, but those simply couldn’t match Megan’s grandiose showmanship. I often found myself yearning for a more splashy set design that told a more complete story. But what Megan lacked in stage design she made up for in stage presence. And her energy was so strong that it lasted long after the show, as fans twerked in the hallways of State Farm Arena while exiting the venue. Considering Hot Girl Summer is her first arena tour, Megan has room to grow.

For the first night of her rescheduled Atlanta show, fans received an album announcement and heard an unreleased song. Who knows what surprises she’ll have for tonight’s show?