Why Atlanta Rapper Miss Mulatto Changed Her Name To Latto

The platinum-selling recording artist once known as Mulatto has officially changed her name. On Monday, rapper Latto debuted her new moniker on music streaming platforms like Tidal, Spotify, and Apple Music as she gears up to release an album on Friday.

For several months, the Clayton County-raised performer has discussed the possibility of changing her stage name as the term “mulatto” is described as offensive.

According to the Pew Research Center, the term  “mulatto” – mulato in Spanish – commonly referenced a person of mixed-race ancestry with white European and Black African roots. However, it was often used in a derogatory fashion during the times of slavery and segregation in America. The root of the word mula, or mule, refers to the offspring of a horse and a donkey. 

In the latest edition of Merriam-Webster, the word is still marked/labeled as “usually offensive.”

The literary trope “tragic mulatto” was born from the word in the early 1840s largely in credit to Lydia Maria Child. “The myth almost exclusively focuses on biracial individuals, especially women, light enough to pass for white,” according to an article by ThoughtCo which explores the history of the trope.

Latto, whose real name is  Alyssa Michelle Stephens, identifies as biracial. Back in 2016, she emerged in the music industry as Miss Mulatto in the first season of Jermaine’s Dupri’s reality competition series on Lifetime, “The Rap Game.”

“I’m passionate about my race. I’m Miss Mulatto. The term mulatto technically is a racist slur. It means someone that’s half Black and half white. So it’s, like, controversial,” she said during her time on the show. “I took that negativity from the word mulatto and now … everybody calls me Miss Mulatto.” 

She was only 15 years old at the time. 

The now 22-year-old “Queen of the South” artist hinted during an interview with HipHopDX at the 2020 BET HipHop Awards that she was thinking about changing her name.

“It is a controversy that I hear and see every day as far as my name goes, so I would be lying to say no I never thought of that. But I can’t say too much … right now, because it’s going to be a part of something bigger,” she told HipHopDX in 2020.

After much social media scrutiny and reflection, the southern lyricist stayed true to her word and revealed that she would change her name in a trending interview with Hot Freestyle back in January.

“You know you might know your intentions, but these are strangers who don’t know you, never even met you in person,” Mulatto expressed in the interview. “So you gotta hear each other out, and if you know those aren’t your intentions and that’s how it’s being perceived, it’s like why not make a change or alter it? For me, it was the name. So now I’m like, ‘OK, my intentions was to never glorify being mulatto.’ So if that’s how it’s being perceived and people think I’m saying, ‘Oh, I’m better because I’m mulatto’ or ‘My personality trait is mulatto’ … then I need to change the matter at hand.”

Latto said she would not just change her social media handles because “that’s not sensitive enough to the subject matter” and she wants “to be able to speak on it” so people can hear her out. She said changing your name in the music industry is no easy feat and it comes with a load of logistics. 

“I want them to also understand that the name change at this level in your career is a big decision,” the 22-year-old rapper said during her Hot Freestyle interview. “Freaking investors, labels, everything … been riding on this name, so it is a big decision … it’s way deeper than a tweet.” 

She made it clear that multiple aspects were involved in the decision and a variety of business partners had a “say so in that decision.”

“It’s not like me being ‘I want to do this’ and then it’s just done,” she said.

The platinum-selling artist made a video post on Instagram Tuesday evening teasing a potential song speaking on the name change. 

“You gotta be strategic with the word choice because it could come off a way that you don’t mean. That’s how I got in this predicament in the first place with the damn name,” she said. “That’s why you gotta be proactive with the word choice … gotta think ahead … my intentions weren’t for the backlash … exactly what I’m saying in the song … intentions weren’t for that.”

The star reached a huge milestone back in March when her single “B*tch From Da Souf” received a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“I was the first solo female rapper from ATL to go gold,” she penned in a tweet. “Now I’m the first solo female rapper from ATL to go platinum too!”

Last year, Latto appeared in Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s controversial hit music video “WAP.” She also collaborated with Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane on her song “Muwop” which went gold.

Source: 11Alive News

Asian Hip Hop Record Label 88rising Gets Slammed For Posting Yellow Square On Instagram After Atlanta Shooting

88rising, an Asian American media company, apologized late Wednesday for posting a yellow square to its Instagram page in a clumsy attempt to call attention to the recent spate of anti-Asian violence — including Tuesday’s mass shooting outside Atlanta.

“Thank you to our community for sharing your comments and critiques with us,” said a statement that took the post’s place. “It was never our intention to cause harm, but we recognize the effects of our actions and apologize.”

The original post was criticized for co-opting the black squares that filled Instagram last summer during the height of protests against police brutality and systemic racism against Black people.

The company, which provides management and video production as well as operates a record label and marketing company, insisted that its intentions were pure. “We are not trying to start a yellow square movement, though we understand how it was misinterpreted,” it said in a new statement.

Not only did 88rising draw backlash not only for seeming to piggyback on the show of solidarity associated with Black Lives Matter, but many noted that the black squares were roundly dismissed by organizers last summer as being unhelpful to the cause.

Others said they initially thought the yellow square must be a joke and were shocked to see 88rising actually post one — even after the deadly attack outside Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

Moreover, many regard “yellow” as a slur leveled at people of Asian descent — while the term Black is a widely accepted racial category as defined by the U.S. Census.

“Enough is enough. Heartbroken with the disgusting and senseless violence in Georgia tonight,” read the caption of the original post, which has been deleted. “Violence against the Asian community has to stop. Let’s protect each other and stand against hate.”

Source: TheWrap

MF DOOM, Renowned Masked And Masterful Rap Artist, Dead At 49

MF Doom, the cerebral and willfully mysterious rapper and producer beloved by hip-hop connoisseurs for the complex rhymes he delivered from behind a metallic mask, has died. He was 49.

His death was announced Thursday in an Instagram post signed by his wife, Jasmine, who said that Doom had “transitioned” on Oct. 31. A spokesman for Rhymesayers, a label for which Doom recorded, confirmed his death. No cause was given.

Known for close collaborations with producers such as Madlib and Danger Mouse — and for his use of a variety of alter egos including King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn — Doom, born Daniel Dumile, cut a proudly idiosyncratic path through rap music in the 1990s and 2000s, burrowing deep into a self-made comic book-style mythology even as hip-hop reached increasingly commercial heights in the pop mainstream.

His music was dense but funky, gloomy yet streaked with an off-kilter sense of humor; his records helped clear a path for younger hip-hop eccentrics like Playboi Carti and Tyler, the Creator.

“My soul is crushed,” Flying Lotus tweeted Thursday, before adding that 2004’s “Madvillainy” album was “all u ever needed in hip hop.” On Instagram, El-P of Run the Jewels thanked Doom “for keeping it weird and raw always.”

Of his decision to perform in a mask, Dumile, who was born in London and grew up on Long Island, told the New Yorker in 2009, “I wanted to get onstage and orate, without people thinking about the normal things people think about. Like girls being like, ‘Oh, he’s sexy,’ or ‘I don’t want him, he’s ugly,’ and then other dudes sizing you up. A visual always brings a first impression. But if there’s going to be a first impression I might as well use it to control the story. So why not do something like throw a mask on?”

Source: LA Times

The Dual Album Design Of Kendrick Lamar’s Major Label Debut Offers A Glimpse Into An Alternative Future

The two albums’ early 90s photographs are highly personal to Lamar, but have a familiarity to the beholder as well

In 2012, good kid, m.A.A.d city brought hip hop’s finest new storyteller to the attention of the masses. Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut tells the story of a kid growing up in Compton, Los Angeles, circumnavigating the pitfalls of gang life, whether by accident or design. The cover art meanwhile provides two stories, perhaps offering us a glimpse into an alternative future. 

It’s a cinematic roman-à-clef that comes at you out of sequence—memory isn’t linear, after all—and the two photographs chosen for two editions of the album conjure up different but connected memories from the immediate past: one is a family scene from a kitchen, and the other, a van sitting in the driveway of Lamar’s old house. While personal to the artist, these pictures from the early ’90s have a familiarity to the beholder too, even if they’re not our own memories.

Exhibit one, for the initial 12-track release, is a picture we’re to assume is of the baby Kendrick surrounded by three older figures who may be relatives. According to Marcus J. Moore’s excellent new biography The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited The Soul Of Black America, that is indeed Lamar in diminutive form, with two teenage uncles and his grandfather sitting to his left. In an interesting visual twist, the eyes of these other figures are blacked out with identity-obscuring oblongs, while the toddler—who you’d expect to be the protected party here—stares into the lens. A few years after this photo was taken, Kendrick, aged just five, would witness a teenage drug dealer gunned down before his eyes, and the year before, he’d seen mass rioting in the streets following the infamous attack on Rodney King by LAPD officers. 

On closer inspection, the photograph is communicating dangers via signifiers, such as a bottle of alcohol sitting on the table—something he’ll addressed on ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)”; meanwhile, the uncle whose lap young Kendrick is sitting on is throwing a surreptitious gang sign with his left hand. Potential downfalls are hiding in plain sight in a picture as symbolically rich as Holbein’s The Ambassadors. “That photo says so much about my life and about how I was raised in Compton and the things I’ve seen,” said Lamar. 

Exhibit two, mounted on the cover for the deluxe version of good kid, m.A.A.d city, is not as easy to read. Lamar’s mother’s van, parked on the street in front of their family home, appears on the cover, shot through a fisheye lens. Intriguingly, while this photo offers less in the way of visual portents, the house itself has become a shrine to fans. Type “Good Kid M.A.A.D City House” into Google Earth and you’ll find the rapper’s childhood home in Compton, and pictures of fans assembled outside like they’re at Graceland. Furthermore, scrawled under the battered Chrysler are the words “a short film by Kendrick Lamar,” adding to the hauntological vibrations.  

“I fought not to have that on the cover!” says designer Don Clark on a Zoom call from his Seattle office. Clark set up the design agency Invisible Creature with his brother Ryan in 2006. “At the beginning I felt a photo of a minivan wasn’t worthy of an album cover, but I’m not always right. Because then his art creates this thing that becomes greater than any of us. That’s the sweet spot I love when working with other artists, when it takes on a life of its own.” 

Clark was initially reluctant to talk about good kid, m.A.A.d city because of his lack of conceptual input into the design. Invisible Creature took 4×6 photos supplied by Lamar and scanned them, adding crease marks to the corners to give the packaging a more distressed appearance, and then superimposed the pictures onto various textures until they found a background that most resembled an old Polaroid. But otherwise, the direction all came from Lamar himself. Within the space of a five-minute conference call, the musician, who was just making a name for himself at the time, had laid out exactly what he wanted in fine detail. His objectives were clear for every inch of good kid, m.A.A.d city, visually and audibly.

There are ten polaroid photos laid out across the deluxe gatefold edition, again all chosen in sequence by Lamar. Clark also disapproved of the graffiti-style font at the base of the sleeve, but he’s willing to concede that that cover has become a fan favorite, and that it has an enigmatic quality, too: mystery, after all, is in short supply these days as cover art becomes utilitarian and avatar-like, a one inch box on a tiny smartphone screen to click on or swipe away. 

The alternative 12-track cover still makes more sense to Clark though, and a couple of serendipitous details add to its ability to communicate: the Parental Advisory sticker is analogous to the photo’s message, and use of the black strips across the eyes of the adults was actually at the insistence of the label. “That was more of a legal thing,” says Clark. “Interscope and the family wanted to do that to obscure their likenesses.” 

Other than obfuscating the identities of the grownups in the room, Interscope was happy to allow their new signing complete artistic freedom to unleash his vision, a gamble that obviously paid off given that Kendrick Lamar is one of the most acclaimed rappers of all time, a state of affairs that really began with good kid, m.A.A.d city

“From the beginning they let him do what he wanted,” says Clark. “He was also [Dr.] Dre’s guy and I think that had a lot to do with it. That’s another amazing thing about him in that he doesn’t care what people will think and his art speaks for itself, and I appreciate that audacity.”

Source: AIGA Eye On Design

Godfrey GOES IN on Tekashi, Impersonates 69 with “Tattletale Rap”

In this clip, Godfrey starts out by reacting to correctly predicting that Tekashi would rap about snitching in a previous VladTV interview. He went on to state that he doesn’t believe that Tekashi’s reverse psychology plan will work, because history and movies have shown that people don’t respect snitches. Godfrey also joked about a 12-year-old girl revealing Tekashi’s address online, and he went on to impersonate Tekashi rapping about snitching, which you can view above.

R.A. the Rugged Man – The Introduction (Official Music Video)

R.A. The Rugged Man presents the official music video for “The Introduction”, the opening track off his brand new album “All My Heroes Are Dead”. Now available worldwide, the album features appearances by Chuck D of Public Enemy, Ghostface Killah, Slug of Atmosphere, Immortal Technique, Ice-T, Brand Nubian, Vinnie Paz, Inspectah Deck, M.O.P., Kool G Rap, DJ Jazzy Jeff, A-F-R-O, Chris Rivers, Onyx, Chino XL, Masta Killa, and more.

Rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony enter sponsorship deal with restaurant franchise Buffalo Wild Wings, collaborate on marketing campaign ‘Boneless Thugs’ to promote Boneless Wings

It’s almost unheard of for musicians to change their name after 25 years, especially when that change is part of a marketing campaign for an American casual dining restaurant known for their chicken wings. In either a coup for marketing professionals everywhere or a sign that no one (even legendary hip-hop groups) are immune to capitalism’s allure, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony announced on February 19th that their new name is Boneless Thugs-N-Harmony — a homage to Buffalo Wild Wings.

In addition to the overarching name swap, three members of the group will also go by new monikers. Krayzie Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, and Wish Bone are now Krayzie Boneless, Flesh-N-Boneless, and Wish Boneless. According to the marketing materials released by Buffalo Wild Wings, Layzie Bone is not on board with the new “Boneless” identity. “I ain’t changing shit,” Layzie says in a Behind The Music-esque spoof released in conjunction with the announcement. “Bone Thugs-N-Harmony changes their name to Boneless. It’s preposterous.”

According to Seth Freeman, the CMO of Buffalo Wild Wings, there’s a complicated, non-monetary reason for the name change. “These boneless wings are so good, what if they made Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have an identity crisis,” Freeman wrote in a statement. In reality, the group’s longtime manager Steve Lobel says he was approached by a marketing agency a few months ago about the campaign. “Three of the four were down with it,” Lobel says. “Layzie Bone was hesitant, and he’s still hesitant about it. He wasn’t with it, but the other three gentlemen were.” Lobel has worked with the group since 1994, meeting them through Eazy-E.

Source: Rolling Stone

Tyler The Creator Disses The Grammys After Best Rap Album Win: It ‘Feels Like a Backhanded Compliment’

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“I’m half and half on it,” he said, immediately after accepting the award. “On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could be acknowledged in a world like this, but also, it sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category, which is — I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. That’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me.”

IGOR is widely considered to be the best album in Tyler’s discography, and also the furthest from a traditional rap album. There are relatively few verses of straightforward rapping, and often the album pulls from disco, funk, and R&B, and aesthetically had little in common with the albums he beat out in the Best Rap Album category.

“When I hear that, I think ‘why can’t we just be in pop?’ Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment,” Tyler said. “Like, oh, my little cousin wants to play the game, let’s give him the unplugged controller so he can shut up and feel good about it. That’s what it felt like a bit.”

Source: Rolling Stone