Born Alyssa Michelle Stevens, she is famously known by her current stage name Big Latto. Since age eight, this American rapper has been in her craft and had a considerable rise to celebrity status via her appearance on the reality series, The Rap Game. This series first season premiered on Lifetime at the beginning of 2016, where Big Latto won under her original controversial stage name Miss Mulato.
Big Latto shares her growth from her elementary years of being in the game and navigating her process. She shares with us the intricacies behind her original name, the name change, how she has grown, and what’s she has witnessed in others along the way.
The change to Big Latto was a sign of growth for the rapper assuaging the backlash of colorism.
“I was being misunderstood, but that’s not what I meant. It’s not my personality trait [referring to mulatto complexion]. At first, I was defensive because I didn’t know what they meant.”
While still keeping the intimate ties to the original stage name’s roots, she explains why she keeps it similar.
“I haven’t told this story. That name was given to me as a stage name when I was 8. It was a delicate subject with familial ties. I can have my opinion now. When I changed it, It was a process. It’s important that the right message gets transferred to the people.”
Watch the full video interview with Hot 97:
Latto has always wanted to rap. She grew up around her dad and his interactions with rappers and their music videos. This, coupled with her passion for wordplay and language arts in school, helped push her to drive even further.
“I literally rapped my whole life. I loved school, and language arts was my favorite subject, so wordplay was my own passion, and growing up around that, my lifestyle was just easily intertwined.”
As she has been doing her thing practically her whole life, since 8, she has happily noticed the rise of other female artists in this field.
“I’ve Been doing it a long time. It feels so good. I have friendly competition, and I love that. There are different representations from different cities, tones, rap styles, flows, and subjects. You can choose your favorite female rapper now, vs. before when It was just like Nicki or nothing,” Latto adds to what she brings to the talent pool. “I like being a female face for Atlanta. I come with my southern punchlines and open flow. But, I feel like the versatility in my music separates me too.”
In her parting revelations, she shares words of wisdom from her echoes of winning The Rap Game.
“Being in The Rap Game helped me prepare for what is to come. You gain additional value for opportunities when you were already in them. It’s surreal to me. Like, I’ve come a long way. I still want to go further, but you still just have to acknowledge how far you’ve come.”
Be on the lookout for Big Latto’s new album, 777, coming out soon.