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Latto talks Big Energy, supporting other female rappers and more


ABC/Craig Sjodin

(NOTE LANGUAGE) Latto‘s early memories of rapping stem from her childhood, when she was rushing to the studio with her father at just 10 years old. Her experience led to her win on Lifetime’s The Rap Game and later her breakthrough single “B**** From Da Souf,” but 2021’s “Big Energy” catapulted her to an even higher level.

“I heard my A&R and management whispering, debating on whether or not to play this beat for me,” Latto tells Billboard when discussing the song. “It was just so different from everything else that I’ve done. They were hesitant on how I would react.”

Despite not recognizing “Genius of Love,” the 1981 Tom Tom Club song sampled by Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy,” things “ended up working in my favor,” earning her a Grammy nod for Best Melodic Rap Performance.

“I could feel the potential of the song and how commercial it was,” she said, “but I definitely didn’t think it would be Grammy-nominated.” Collaborating with Mariah for the remix, she added, was “a super out-of-body experience.”

“She was just embracing me and telling me she loves everything I’m doing,” Latto said.

Latto’s received support from Queen LatifahTrinaCity GirlsCardi BSZARemy Ma and Lizzothroughout her career, and she intends on passing on the love to new female artists.

“My No. 1 thing has been being a girl’s girl,” she said. “I utilize my power in uplifting others on my way up. When you see Latto do a feature with an upcoming female rapper, I don’t charge them … I don’t profit off that.”

Noting how young she was when she started out, Latto says she’s now “taking control back” and exploring new sounds.

“The content I’m about to roll out is a whole fresh new leaf,” she said.

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