If someone ever questions the impact that rappers have on popular culture, look no further than Atlanta’s own Omerettà The Great. Her latest release, “Sorry Not Sorry,” channeled the energy of Jay-Z’s timeless “Imaginary Player” bar — “It's funny how one verse can fuck up the game” — by sparking a conversation that transcended rap and garnered both local and national attention. “Sorry Not Sorry” found Omerettà showcasing her hometown pride and setting the record straight on what is and isn’t considered Atlanta.

Unless you’re from Georgia or have frequently visited its capital, you likely weren’t familiar with Atlanta and its surrounding areas’ delicate, and at times toxic, relationship, but Omerettà’s latest single changed all of that. By calling out the stomping grounds of countless artists who are arguably synonymous with the mainstream Atlanta scene, Omerettà managed to anger many Metro Atlanta Area natives and inspire legends like T.I. to chime in on the conversation, but most importantly, “Sorry Not Sorry” shed a long-overdue spotlight on one of Atlanta’s most gifted emcees.

omeretta the great

Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Arnelle Yvette 

Originally known for pumping out hard-hitting freestyles on social media, Omerettà The Great has been one of Atlanta’s most exciting rising artists for several years. Since 2016, the enthralling femcee has worked with a wide variety of artists, from YFN Lucci and Lil Donald to Latto and Killumantii, and her grind has left positive impressions on major industry players like Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby. Thanks to her growing notoriety, Omerettà also landed a starring role in the 10th season of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, and although she has since revealed that she won’t be returning to the show for its 11th season, Omerettà’s is in the perfect position to make an even bigger splash in Hip-Hop this year following the success of “Sorry Not Sorry."

HNHH was able to connect with the Atlanta native for our special Women’s History Month interview series, and during her interview, Omerettà The Great discussed what life has been like since the release of “Sorry Not Sorry,” the misconception that she’s just an “Instagram Rapper,” and her profound love for poetry and Tupac Shakur. For an in-depth introduction to one of the most talented rappers coming out of Atlanta, scroll down to read HNHH's full interview with Omerettà The Great, lightly edited for length and clarity.


HNHH: It’s Women’s History Month! How are you feeling?

Omerettà: I feel good. I feel like I've been connecting with a lot of women lately, so, it kind of does feel like Women’s History Month. It’s just been that love in the air.

Gotcha. You're probably having the time of your life since “Sorry, Not Sorry” came out. Everyone's been talking about it. But let's go back in time a little bit to last spring. Around this time last year, you were popping and people were mentioning your name a lot for a completely different reason — the Lil Baby “On Me” remix. Looking back at it now, how do you feel about your push to get on that remix and the entire situation altogether?

I feel like it was real beneficial for my career. I feel like that's the time the media, blogs, articles — that's around the time that they actually started picking me up. 'Cause they been knew who I was! But it's like they really wasn't posting me like that. But when they posted that and they got the response that it did, they like, “Oh yeah, we need to keep posting Omerettà.” I feel like that opened up a lot of doors for me and I got a whole bunch of new fans from that. I think I got like 100,000 followers just off of that alone.

Alright, cool. How do you feel like you've grown as a person and as an artist since that moment, in this one-year time span?

I feel like I have just been getting better. It be crazy because sometimes I be feeling like I don't know how to rap no more. I take breaks in rapping. Then when I sit down, write a rap, and deliver it, people be like, “Bro, what the fuck?!” It's always better than the last time, but it's because I'm always in competition with myself. I don't ever want my old stuff to be better than my new stuff. I always want to outdo what I did before.

Okay, respect. Fast forward to now. “Sorry, Not Sorry” is blowing up. How does it feel to be getting even more recognition for just your song? Like, this isn't a remix of someone's song, this isn't a freestyle, it's literally yours. So how are you feeling right now?

It feels good. A lot of people thought that I needed a ghostwriter to make a hit. They thought I couldn't do it. They were like, I'm just like an Instagram rapper and stuff like that. So it feels good just playing around with something. Just being myself and releasing something and having so many people gravitate toward it. And not only is it a good song, but it's sparking conversation. It's about to be a month, and people will not let this go. Every time you turn around, people tagging me in this, remix is still going up, it’s trending still. They will not let this go.

"A lot of people thought that I needed a ghostwriter to make a hit. They thought I couldn't do it. They were like, I'm just like an Instagram rapper and stuff like that."

As someone from Clayco, I just remember everyone hitting my phone.

[laughs]

People really have been in their feelings about it.

Yeah!

Speaking on the Instagram rapper label that some people try to force on you. Atlanta kind of has a few of those like Deante' Hitchcock kind of got stamped like an Instagram rapper or freestyler at first. Even Shunie from Clayton County sometimes gets that tag sometimes too. As someone who clearly cares about the craft, how does that make you feel?

It made me stop posting my freestyles because people was getting confused. They're like, “Oh, okay, you’ve got these freestyles, but your freestyles sound better than your real music.” It's like, well of course like it's free bars. Straight bars will always sound better because it’s just straight rapping. I had to pull back from posting my freestyles because I'm like, “Okay, they're not taking me seriously as an artist because they’re steady comparing my work to my freestyles.” So, I really stopped posting freestyles. I don’t do freestyles no more. I’ll do them like, actually on the original beat, and go record them, but on somebody else's beat? I don’t do that no more because people started playing with me. It was another point I was gonna make with that. Oh! Since I kept giving them my free bars on Instagram, they wasn't going to stream my music. So I had to start driving my traffic somewhere else instead of Instagram. I had to start driving it to YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, and all that.

That makes sense. I was gonna say that you're probably one of, if not the best, freestyles in Atlanta. I just want to know which other Atlanta rappers do you respect, lyrically, the most?

When I first was coming up, I used to listen to Lucci a lot. I really loved his music. I feel like we used to go through the same stuff. I used to like his stuff. Right now, I'm listening to Slimelife Shawty. He hard. I feel like he hard in a way of what he be talking about and his wordplay. He’s a real rapper for real. He not just one of these dudes out here just putting melodies together and talking about, “I’ll shoot and kill a nigga.” Naw. He got hyperboles, whatever that word called. He got metaphors, similes. I be listening because I'm a real rapper so I listen for stuff like that. He hard.

Okay, so let's get into the Atlanta conversation a little bit with “Sorry, Not Sorry.” What has been the most shocking reaction to that song that you’ve seen?

It’ll have to be the news thing. When they put me on the news, I didn't expect that. I didn't expect to wake up and see myself on the news talking about my song. It wasn’t for nothing crazy, they just showed my music video and was talking about the lyrics in my song. That was dope.

That is really interesting. I don't think I've ever seen that, to be honest.

That's what I'm saying, like who gets on the news just for a song?

That was like Atlanta? Like WSB-TV?

That was CBS or ICBS or something like that.

omeretta the great

Photo provided by the artist. Photo credit: Arnelle Yvette 

Okay, cool, cool. That brings me up to a point I was gonna bring up later, but I'll just go ahead and get into it now. For you, it seems like 100% of your focus is really on the music. Like there's nothing extra that we should be focusing on. It's all in the music. So is that like a conscious effort? Are you just doing what you'd like to do?

Probably kind of both. Even with my looks and stuff, a lot of people would use their looks as an advantage, but I really don't focus on that. I want people to focus on my talent, and I want them to focus on my lyrics. When I do my photoshoots and stuff, of course, like that's that, you know what I'm saying? Sometimes still, I'll post a rap and then they'll post it on a blog site, and everybody will be like, “She's so pretty, she’s so pretty” all in the comments. That’ll still happen sometimes, but that's not my main focus. I'm like a rock star. You see, my clothes are all black. I could have easily been like a Barbie Girl. But it’s like, I ain’t on that. I just want people to know me for my music and then know me for my fashion.

Gotcha. I was going through your Instagram, and I saw on some of the pictures people will be commenting on your more revealing posts like, “You don't have to take pictures like this! You don't have to try and sell sex!” So I wonder, as a woman, do those comments– I'm sure they're kind of uplifting, but at the same time when do you kind of feel stifled by fans who only expect you not to ever show a different side of you?

Yeah, it's annoying sometimes. Just for the simple fact being all this time I've been an artist, I never took the route of trying to sell sex. So if I do something that’s just me wanting to express myself and people be like, “Oh, you don't have to do this.” I'm like, “Bro, I'm grown as fuck. I can do whatever the fuck I want to do.” This not about selling no sex, this not about trying to get nowhere in the industry. This is just about me expressing myself. It kind of gets annoying sometimes when I try to do stuff and then people be like, “Oh, Omerettà, I don’t want you to do that.” Like bro, you don’t run me. Yeah, I appreciate the support, but I’m finna be myself.

For sure, for sure. So getting back to the song, have any of the Atlanta rappers hit you privately? Because I saw T.I. talking about it on Instagram and stuff.

He had hit me up. He was like, “You hard for this.” Then I had hit Thug up to get on the remix. He told me he was going to do it, but he ain’t do it. I ain’t mad though because Latto got on there.

"Then I had hit Thug up to get on the remix. He told me he was going to do it, but he ain’t do it. I ain’t mad though because Latto got on there."

That would’ve been really wild if Thug got on there, but I think Latto was definitely an interesting choice. Especially since she’s from Clayton County. That actually leads into my next question for you. When separating the two — like the outskirts and the suburbs around Atlanta versus Atlanta —who are your favorite rappers who aren't from Atlanta, but the industry calls Atlanta?

I really don't have favorites. My favorite rappers ever when I was young was like TIP, Jeezy, Wayne, Eminimen. Then when I grew up, it was like Lucci, Rich Homie Quan, and now Slime. So it's really not like, you know, Ludacris and stuff. I like to listen to music that I can relate to. That’s like pain music and shit that I actually go through. I listen to the stuff that be on the radio, but only when it plays in those types of environments. I'm not downloading all this stuff on my phone and in my playlist.

On that note, with all those people you named, I'm assuming they also influenced you? Like sound-wise and rapping-wise, was there anyone else who you didn't mention who has been an influence on your career?

Tupac. We grew up listening to Tupac in my house. It's crazy because I rarely mention him in my interviews because I feel like that's such a cliché thing to do. Everybody wants to mention Pac. But literally in my house, we grew up listening, like everybody in my family loved Tupac. That’s the artist that brings my whole family together. When he plays, we all know and sing all the songs. Everybody loves Pac. Plus he’s a Gemini, and I'm a Gemini. I used to think I was him reincarnated. But once I found out that he died in September and I was born in June, I was like, okay, I was born before he died. So I guess not.

Some of that energy still could have transferred, you never know! That's actually interesting that you say that. There's a lot of love for Tupac in Atlanta, and I think most people wouldn't assume that. I don't know, it's always caught my attention when speaking with local artists. Anyways, have you heard people use the argument that there can only be one woman rapper at a time? They've used it to pit women against each other, like, “We can only have one!”

Right.

Bet. Atlanta alone has seen, over the past five years, a lot of female rappers. From you, Baby Tate, Killumantii, Latto. Then more coming up like E Chapo and others. I'm curious to know, from your perspective and your experiences, did Atlanta kind of have that attitude of there can only be one out at a time?

I really don't think so. Just because it took so long for a female rap artist in Atlanta to pop. I don't think that we was competing for a spot. All of us are so different, you know what I'm sayin'?

Yeah.

I'm the type of person, me personally, if I know you from the city, I'mma want to work. That’s just me. I like to show love with my city. Like Baby Tate — when she ask me to come to the studio, I pull right up. It don’t matter. Killumantii, when she first came out, I hit her right up and we made one of my highest streaming songs on Apple Music. Latto, she told me to come to the studio, I pulled right up. I don't got no problem. I like to show love to my city. So it ain't like a thing like, “Oh, I ain’t fucking with y’all hoes.” Nah. You want to work? Let’s work.

Okay, cool, I was curious about that because I've been seeing all y'all for a while now. I'm just ready for everyone to catch on. Atlanta has caught on, but everyone outside of Atlanta.

Yeah!

But yeah, Love & Hip Hop last year. I saw that you left, but looking back at it, did it do everything for you that you hoped that it would?

No. Because in my mind, I thought it was gonna be a real segment of my career. The way they explained it to me, it sounded so dope, but the way it rolled out, it was like, bro, this same old Love & Hip Hop shit. I mean, it got me a team, and that's the best thing that came from that show. I needed that so bad. So, I do thank them for helping me get me a team because I was trying to do all this by myself. I can’t.

So your whole management team, like PR and everything that came from Love & Hip Hop?

Yeah, well it started with management because they seen that I didn't have management. They were like, “Oh, Omerettà don’t have management.” They started hitting me up, and it took a long time to get to me because I don't really respond to people. So it took a long time for them to get to me, and then we had a meeting and we all loved each other. We started working and then they started building from the people they know. Now I got a full team. Marketing, PR, management, A&R, all that.

I never would have thought that that's how you linked up with your people, but that's what’s up. Was it fun, at least? Did you enjoy the actual process?

[Shakes head no & laughs]

[Laughs] I feel it. Well, are you anti-reality tv? Or is it that you just wouldn't do Love & Hip Hop again? Like, would you go a different route?

I just wouldn’t do reality TV, period, just because it don't be real. I ain’t with that. If I had a show, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, then yeah, for sure like that's fire. But somebody else orchestrating what's going on, I’m not with that. So, probably not.

"I just wouldn’t do reality TV, period, just because it don't be real. I ain’t with that."

I feel it. In addition to Latto being on the “Sorry, Not Sorry Remix,” are there any other collaborations with her that you have already secured?

No, but I feel like it will be some in the future just because we basically opened that door back up. Because we did a song back in 2018. Then we talked for a minute, now we just did another song together. So for sure.

Okay, any other local rappers that you're interested in working with?

I don’t know. It's a lot of girls now that’s popping. Most of them are from Texas. Texas got the shit on lock right now. They got Monaleo. They got KenTheMan. They got Lebra. Erica Banks. Everybody down here from Texas, they hot. All the new female rappers is from Texas, and I'm gonna work with all of them.

Okay, gotcha. I saw that in recent interviews, you've been admitting that although the raps are strong, your weak point is more so consistently releasing music. I think the last one was in 2019?

Yeah, I ain’t dropped no album since 2019. It's crazy because sometimes I don't look at myself like a real artist, which I just started looking at myself like. I thought about it, and I was like, “Damn, imagine if I was a fan of somebody and they literally didn't drop an album for like three or four years.” I would be like what the fuck! You ain’t that big enough to be not dropping music. And they be waiting like, “Omerettà, drop something!” lt’s just like, damn, like I'm really an artist. I do need to drop some music.

That's wild. “Sorry, Not Sorry,” definitely reminds you a little bit more, huh?

Yeah.

2022. Do we have a project coming out? Do we have something coming?

Yeah, it’s crazy because I have a full project ready. It's a hard process because it's the stuff on the business side that’s like, do we want to drop a project right now? Is it the time? Or do we want to just drop a single and keep more buzz? It's just the business part of it. The music part — I got the music. It’s done. All that shit done. It’s just got to get mixed and mastered, drop a cover, and I could release a mixtape in like two weeks if I wanted to. It's just about how we are going to do it.

"It’s crazy because I have a full project ready. It's a hard process because it's the stuff on the business side that’s like, do we want to drop a project right now? Is it the time? Or do we want to just drop a single and keep more buzz?"

It’s good now though because you’re not with what a label yet, right?

No.

Yeah. So once that happens, that'll get even worse.

That's why I just might as well just go ahead and release before that shit comes because, oh Lord!

I'm already knowing the labels have been calling over the past month, too.

Man, it's so crazy because it's been a lot of stuff going on, but my team isn’t telling me yet because they just want to keep stuff a surprise. They was like, ”Omeretta, we got stuff going on.” I’m just like okay, don’t tell me, you don’t got to tell me nothing.

Yeah, that kind of leads into my next question. I was wondering if remaining independent is something that you would like to do long-term or are you down to consider teaming up with a major label?

Yeah. I feel like if I want to get to that next level, then I would have to just because that's the bigger machine. It's just all about getting a good deal. A lot of people go in and just be thirsty for a major, and you just signed the first thing that they offer. I ain't trying to do that. I want to be treated right. It’s just about me getting a good deal with a good label.

Speaking about labels, I saw this post earlier that was bringing back you and JT's back and forth. Apart from the drama, you mentioned one of Atlanta's most well-known record labels: QC. What do local Atlanta labels like QC or So So Def mean to you? Do they hold any more weight? If they were to reach out, would that hold more weight for you versus an Asylum or any other label from another state?

Every label in Atlanta has reached out to me, since like way back in 2017. It was a lot of stuff in the works. I wouldn't say it’ll hold more weight because those types of labels, they’re still independent labels. They would need backing from a major label. A lot of independent labels be having backing from the bigger labels. I feel like I'm too big for an independent label, you feel what I'm saying? I might as well just go ahead to the big fish. Ultimately, that's who everybody needs.

More money in your pockets too, cutting out the middleman. I was just curious about that because even with Thug, like YSL. I know that there's just so many. Some people may chase those local labels just to get that chain.

Yeah, but it's like then, you be signed to so many people. Those are independent labels, so they still need backing from a major.

Gotcha. Have you thought about starting your own label? Or recruiting other artists?

Listen. The music industry is icky. I love making music, I love it. I love it. I love it, but I do not want to be that deep in this industry. I don't want to be having control over nobody career. The most I’ll do is give advice and try to be a mentor for some people. But like, playing with people's money, I ain't got time for that. I just want to make my music, do my fashion, open my clothing lines and stuff, and excel in my own way. 

Okay, I feel it. I was gonna ask you, who do you think are the best freestylers other than you of course? The best freestylers in Atlanta or in surrounding areas?

I don’t really know. Don’t too many people be freestyling for real. Not that I know of. I can't think of none. In the world, I can say Lady London. I bring her name up in every interview. If they was to clip all my interviews together, it would be sick. I bring her name up all the time.

You mentioned her in a freestyle too recently, didn’t you?

Yeah. She reminds me so much of myself. She’s like a New York version of me. She reminds me so much of myself because she is fire and she's a poet for real. I feel like that’s way more impressive than being a rapper, being a poet. A lot of people can rap, but everybody can't do poetry. I feel like the best form of making music and stuff is being able to come and sit at a poetry slam and awe the crowd. That's so impressive to me because you got to actually know what you're doing. That's a real skill. There's not nothing that you could just make up. I done tried to do it so many times, and it's so hard for me. So, to see her do it so easily, that shit fire. She is at the top of my list.

The love for Pac is starting to make even more sense.

[laughs]


When you were saying that, I was thinking back to when you named your influences. You didn’t name any women. I was curious to see if any female rappers do it for you? Not in a sense of you’re their biggest fan, but if they helped you shape your identity as a female rapper.

No. I be feeling bad that I be saying that, but it’s the truth. I ain’t really listen to female rappers growing up. Of course, when Nicki came out, everybody was listening to Nicki, but even with Nicki’s music, I like her pain songs more than everybody else like. I like the songs that nobody really paid attention to. Her song “Dear Old Nicki” — that song used to make me cry, but her other songs, everybody be listening to them but I like when she had that song “Fly” by Rihanna. It was real. I liked those songs from her. I just listen to real music and a lot of female rappers, they make bops and that type of music. I really can’t relate to that type of stuff.

It makes sense, especially when you talk about how you like Lucci and that type of music. Moving on to your progression, you’ve been had over a million followers on Instagram. But now that industry people are more invested in talking about you and giving you that spotlight that you’ve been deserving, I’m curious how you feel about things like making the XXL Freshman cover? With that coming around the corner, is that something of a goal for you?

Yeah, it’s just for me, it’s whatever comes. I’m ready. I’m with it. I’m prepared. And when the time comes, whenever they need me to be out there, I’ma be out there ‘cuz I been doing this for a minute and I been sharpening my knife ready to poke ‘em up. 

Alright bet. And with that as well, like the celebrity. Like how you’re just talking about how you like to focus just on the music, have you already had celebrity experiences where it’s just OD?

What do you mean?

A situation like, people just bring up stuff that don’t ultimately matter and what’s focused on instead of like–

Like in my interviews? Yeah. I just had an interview and they be messy, and it be annoying ‘cuz I search my name on Twitter sometimes [laughs], and like now when I search my name it’s like "Rapper Omerettà the Great!" It’s so many different articles people saying this, people saying that. They makin’ up stuff. They lying. And at first, I was getting mad about it. But then I looked at it, and I’m like damn, I made it! Niggas is talking bout me all day! Whether it’s good or bad, they speaking on me. I’m in all these articles, like I’m everywhere. Now I just look at it like, this is what comes with it. This is the life of like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion. This is what they have to go through every day.

Gotcha, and is that something so far you’re adjusting to well? Or do you have a like for it, a dislike for it?

Yeah, I’m trying to learn how to completely block it out because it’s like, they’re coming. And I’m used to gettin’ a lot of love and a little hate, but it’s like with more love comes more hate. Especially, with “Sorry Not Sorry.” I been gettin’ dissed since this song dropped. So it’s me just happening to be like that don’t matter. Keeping myself busy helps a lot. ‘Cuz if I sit at home and I be on the internet, I’ma read all the shit. But if I be out and about and not on my phone, I’m not even thinking ‘bout y’all. I’m elevating. So it’s just about keeping myself busy and just continuing to elevate ‘cuz it’s like at the same time, if you got enough time to sit down and talk about me you ain’t doing enough with your life. So, whatever.

Facts. Well, I know you can sew and everything, and you were talking about doing a fashion line earlier in the interview. Is that something that you’re focused on right now or are you kind of putting that to the side for a little bit?

Yeah, I’m putting it to the side for a little bit and then I’m gonna pick back on it when I get settled in my music.

Okay, cool. Well, as a blanket statement of what fans can expect next from you, what would you say is coming next?

They can expect more music. More dope visuals. They can expect a tour. Merch, fire fire fire fire fire merch. They can expect more dope collabs with like fye artists. They can just expect Omerettà just being Great.

Okay. I’m glad you said that. That answer leads to my final question for you. Your stage name. When people put me on to you, I just heard "Omerettà" "Omerettà," so I was wondering what’s the significance of "The Great?" Why did you incorporate that into your stage name?

Because I’ve been calling myself great since I can remember. When I was nine years old, I had a song called “The World’s Greatest,” so I’ve always just looked at myself like I was just that. So it’s like when I got my name Omerettà, I’m like Omerettà the Great. That’s who I am.

Wear it, That’s what’s up. I appreciate your time.

No problem, thank you!

Revisit the rest of HNHH's Ladies First interviews from Women's History month here.