Just ask Latto, who at the age of 24 can already count herself among the new wave of hip-hop queens while also enjoying crossover success in reality TV.
The Atlanta native had to center herself while collaborating with hip-hop pioneer Rakim to remake his 1992 classic, “Don’t Sweat the Technique.”
“I was a little intimidated going in the studio, hopping on an instrumental like that, but it all worked out,” she told CNN. “I put pressure on myself. A lot of times it don’t even be pressure, I just make it up and put it on myself cause I’m a perfectionist.”
The song is part of Sprite’s global music program, Sprite Limelight, that is bringing together rap royalty like Rakim with some of the newer artists like Latto at a time when the rap/hip-hop genre is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Working with Rakim was thrilling for Latto. He was “humble,” she said, and she got the chance to learn from the legendary rap artist.
“I was asking him about what does he think about female rap? Because he was saying, there wasn’t like a lot of girls on the scene when he started rapping,” she said. “I was asking him what he thought about the genre today, and he has lot of respect for the evolution of hip-hop.”
Latto is part of that evolution.
She’s has been rhyming since she was eight years old, and sounds like a firm believer in both timing and preparation.
“It’s a very innovative time for female rap. I think we are breaking down new doors and setting new tones for a female rapper,” Latto said. “So it’s super fun right now. I think we had like a growth stage, but it’s still a lot of work to be done, so I think it’s like living under a microscope.”
She’s already collaborated with the greats, including Mariah Carey on a remix of her hit “Big Energy,” as well as contemporaries like Cardi B for her single “Put It On Da Floor.”
It’s all made her even more excited for what’s to come.
“I feel like anything is possible at this point. I’ll just be praying and working hard and it just be like kind of falling in my lap for real,” she said. “Once you work with Mariah Carey, anything is possible.”
Even with all her success, the artist says its not always easy being a woman in the male-dominated rap industry.
“Female rappers have to go twice as hard just for equal respect as men,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure our glam is on point, our performance is on point, you gotta get choreography, you gotta have breath control (for singing/vocals).”
Despite the added pressure, Latto is happy with where she’s at.
“I don’t think I would change anything,” she said. “I think everything happened for a reason. I think my career has been moving at its own pace and the pace works good for me.”