Megan Thee Stallion is ready to move on.

Since she burst onto the hip-hop scene in 2017 with “Stalli Freestyle,” the now 25-year-old rapper has been on a seemingly inexorable rise, with last year’s meme-spawning smash “Hot Girl Summer” (featuring Nicki Minaj) and a tag team with none other than Beyoncé on the “Savage” remix earlier this year. Even the pandemic didn’t slow her down: She blew up the BET Awards with a stunning, socially distanced, “Mad Max”-themed video for “Savage,” she was a judge on HBO Max’s ballroom competition show “Legendary” (which has been renewed for a second season) and social media was aflutter over her new friendship with Kylie Jenner.

But in the early hours of July 12, things got complicated. After a night of COVID-defying party-hopping that included a visit to Jenner’s house, she and an unidentified woman were in a car with Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, whom Megan was said to be dating, when he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. While initial reports said Megan injured her foot on broken glass in the car, she has since claimed in social media posts and a July 27 Instagram Live session that she was “shot in both of my feet and had to get surgery to get the bullets taken out,” although she did not inform police and has yet to reveal the identity of the shooter. (One common rumor is that Lanez lost his temper after the two had an argument, but she has dismissed all such speculation as “fake-ass news.”) Surveillance video footage of the arrest shows Megan limping from the SUV, leaving bloody footprints; Los Angeles police confirmed they have opened an investigation based on Megan’s account, but witnesses are said to be not cooperating.

Such incidents normally send a celebrity into hiding, but after nine days of tabloid frenzy, Megan was on the phone with Variety for a long-scheduled interview and ready to talk about virtually anything else. Questions about Lanez and The Incident were strictly off limits, but during the conversation Megan was cheerful, funny, forward-looking and optimistic, only hinting at the experience when asked how she’s doing…

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