When Atlanta-based talent Mulatto won the inaugural season of The Rap Game at age sixteen, it was evident that transitioning from a regional child-talent to bonafide rap star would still serve as a hard challenge.
The face of the show Jermaine Durpri commented on this in a 2018 interview with Vlad TV. He directly questioned a winners ability to stand against the likes of Nicki Minaj and Da Brat — both of whom have fully sustainable legacies at this point.
However, quickly after her moment of glory, the then called Miss Mulatto got to work, investing in a self-started boutique and fiercely binding herself to independency musically. As this year closes, Mulatto ends this decade having changed her name to a mononym, signalling her transition into adulthood, and finally, releasing her latest project — also her second of 2019 — ‘Hit The Latto,’ which graced New York’s Times Square billboard circuits late-last week.
But behind all the smoke and mirrors, does the self-proclaimed 'Big Latto' carry with her the goods?
Yet another play-on-words, Mulatto shortens her name to 'Latto' on the projects introduction. Flute horns guide listeners into the rappers hollow universe, hisses and ad libs in abundance. The number is instantly inviting to listener, however, 'Baby Latto' braggadocious throughout, warns enemies not to play with her.
Lyrically, she’s at home, as part of the reason behind Latto still reigning as queen of ‘The Rap Game’ is because of her impressive attention to detail when writing rap-based lyrics. In quick succession, listeners are thrown into the spotlight, Latto taking position of ringmaster in cuts such as 'No Panties' and 'Rich Sex'.
On the former, the act frequently asserverates the line “I’m a freak / Yeah, I’m nasty” while demanding that a rich n*gga treats her right and satisfies her sexual desires. The bouncy southern beat is often reminiscent of Megan Thee Stallion. Nevertheless, something about the Domino production is grittier, more menacing; this is Latto’s playground and she proves why she has every right in being there. By the end of the song, there’s no doubt left in the audiences' mind on the power brought into both the booth and the bedroom.
'Rich Sex' capitalises on the dominance of bass that exists in clubs throughout Atlanta. The quickly exciting record subtly laces in keyboard-derivative soundscapes in conjunction with these foundations and Latto again revels in the perks of leading men and teaching them how to please her.
Finally, Mulatto the adult and clarity on who exactly that is manifests itself, and it’s at this precise moment — as 'Rich Sex' draws to a close — that a new Latto is birthed, one that has managed to marry her pen with equally as impactful productions.
Elsewhere, Mulatto is still able to summon more energy across her tape and is relentless in her display of love for ClayCo — also known as Clayton County, Atlanta, where the singer was raised.
More widely, she’s in love with Southern culture, so much so that she employs Trina and Saweetie for an alternative version of her street-hit 'B*tch From Da Souf' on this tape. With reworked lyrics for her second-verse, Big Latto again demonstrates her respect for penmanship. Both Saweetie and Trina demonstrate the differences that can exist in rappers from the region. Saweetie offers up a “bad and boujee” persona here, while the self-proclaimed “Diamond Princess” lives up to her name by skating across her verse with an abrupt and blunt delivery.
Mulatto departs from the days of trying to navigate her identity. On ‘Hit The Latto,’ it’s strikingly clear who the rapper is and what informs her every move. Proving to be an adult who is ready to own her sexuality and command the streets of ClayCo and beyond, Big Latto is ready for her close-up. Armed with her ascension is her metaphorical glock, which will be used to take out any artist who stands in her way to the apex of hip-hop.
Words: Nicolas Tyrell
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