Hit the JACKPOT
Inked|November 2021
Rapper Latto on breaking into hip-hop, representing Atlanta and making her next big move.
Devon preston

In hip-hop, a rapper’s name is everything. History won’t remember Jacques Webster II or Calvin Broadus Jr., but it will remember Travis Scott and Snoop Dogg. On the other hand, sometimes changing your name is an essential part of your artistic growth. At the start of 2021, only a matter of months after dropping the album that put her on the map, Latto chose to change her name from Mulatto as a way to move on from the negative connotations of this word and start fresh. “I was in a mindset of wanting to change my name,” Latto says. “I felt that it wasn’t being perceived in the right way and I wanted to address the name change, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to address it yet. I was like, ‘I could do a mini-documentary, I could make an Instagram post, I could do an Instagram live.’ But I was like, ‘Nah, fuck all of that. I’m a rapper and I need to address this in music.’”

Latto’s way of reintroducing herself to the world was through her single “The Biggest.” In this song, she addresses her haters head-on, with lyrics such as “Fuck it, I’ll change my name but I bet they still gon’ find somethin’.” At the same time, she also takes accountability and responsibility for the situation at hand, which is often easier said than done. “I can’t just put the blame on everybody, maybe I wasn’t packaging the name right,” she says. “I think that some things aren’t meant to be brought back and can be left in the past. I’ve also been rapping for a long time and at 8 years old, of course, I’m not hearing what anybody else has to say. Now I’m 22 and I’m a grown woman now. I’m maturing mentally, I can see the bigger picture and I can self-reflect.”

Before Latto was even Mulatto, she was Alyssa Stephens, a music-loving kid living just south of Atlanta. Despite being born in Columbus, Ohio, Latto has always called Atlanta her home and attributes the ATL with shaping who she’s become. “I credit my city for everything about me,” she says. “It’s how I talk, how I rap, how I dress and my overall aura, not just as an artist, but as a person.”

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