Big Latto will be the first to tell you her success was "far from overnight." The 22-year-old MC — who grew up rhyming at block parties, eventually rising through the local scene in Atlanta and opening for bigger rappers when she was still a teenager — is finally bubbling up globally, though it's not because of one particular moment. The way she explains, it's the culmination of years of hard work. "I paid my dues to be where I'm at right now," she tells MTV.
As MTV's Push artist for January recently described, 2021 is just a continuation of her time: "Sometimes I don't even be realizing what's really going on. So sometimes you just gotta take a step back and soak it all in."
While she's reflecting on her road again and her current status — "Everything about this is authentic. I'm really that bitch from the South." — Latto has also been looking back on what she's already accomplished, including getting her idol Gucci Mane on her tune "Muwop."
She worked with producer J. White Did It on it, who later arranged for Gucci to lend a verse without making it a big deal. The first time Big Latto heard it, she thought she was simply listening to her own final, mastered track — only to hear Gucci's signature "Guwop" ad-lib come at the top of the song. "I just froze," she tells MTV. "I FaceTimed [J. White], and I was like, man, you can't play with my emotions like that. If I hear press play and I hear Gucci's verse, it's over with. It's done for these bitches. And then, boom — Gucci was on it."
As relentless and independent as Big Latto has been, collaborating seems like second nature. Her biggest song to date is likely her "Bitch from Da Souf" remix with fellow blazing icon Saweetie and veteran MC Trina. One of her newest cuts, "Sex Lies," came out of collaboration, too.
As she explains, Latto worked in Los Angeles with Nija Charles, who helped her solidify the hook to made the song as sticky as possible. "Melodic hooks is kinda hard for me. I'm a rapper at heart, you know what I'm saying?" Latto says. At Latto's request, Charles and her worked together to create a tune that focused on two people, in the throes of passion, who are telling each other what they want to hear in the moment, even as it might not be the truth. "It makes it spicy," she says.
The song appears on the extended version of her electrifying debut, Queen of Da Souf, and also features an appearance from Lil Baby. Her deluxe album dropped in late 2020. Around that time, she told MTV News that it was just the beginning of her hard work, which she planned to continue well into the new year. "Everything I did in 2020 set the tone for 2021," she said at the time. "If I did all this during the pandemic, then there's nothing that could stop me. I pray and I work hard — literally, that's it."
Check out Big Latto perform "Sex Lies" and talk about the track in the MTV Push interview above.