Latto’s “Genius Of Love”-sampling 2021 single “Big Energy” has been her biggest hit to date. As it turns out, though, the song almost went to another artist, Cardi B. However, according to songwriter Theron Thomas, when the opportunity to put it into Latto’s capable hands arose, the original plans for the song changed quickly.
As a guest on the podcast See, The Thing Is… Thomas recounted how “Big Energy” wound up delivering a smash for Latto instead of Cardi B, its intended recipient. “We went to Hawaii, I wrote it to that beat, and met Latto, and she was like, ‘Yeah man, you know, I want to do some crossover sh*t,'” he recalled.
“When I meet an artist and they tell me they want to do something, it’s like, okay cool. Cardi never got to hear it. We didn’t get it to her.”
After premiering the song at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, Latto officially released it in September 2021. As it rose on the Billboard charts over the next six months, she was able to tap Mariah Carey, whose 1995 hit “Fantasy” also sampled “Genius Of Love” by Tom Tom Club, to appear on the remix. The song peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Melodic Rap Performance.
It was also the basis of Latto’s feud with Nicki Minaj after Nicki argued that “Big Energy” should be nominated for a pop award instead. Nicki’s own song, “Super Freaky Girl,” was shortlisted as a pop song, and she compared the two songs on Twitter. Latto responded, “Damn I can’t win for losing… all these awards/noms I can’t even celebrate,” leading to open hostilities between the two rappers that apparently even continued into a new song Latto debuted at Coachella. Just imagine if the song had gone to Cardi; that feud might have been even worse than it is already.
Watch the full episode of See, The Thing Is… above.