What's Happenin
From radio to television, La La Anthony just keeps expanding her brand, but always keeps hip-hop part of it.
Interview: Aleia Woods
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Spring 2024 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

As a proud member of 50 Cent’s Powerverse, La La Anthony has found her groove as an actress with roles in Power and BMF. Before those looks, La La was known in hip-hop as a radio personality and VJ. Her gig as a face on MTV’s Total Request Live in the 2000s made her popularity soar. Fast-forward two-plus decades, and she’s become a household name. XXL spoke to La La about why she loves hip-hop, what she’s learned from her friend 50 Cent and working with rappers.

XXL: What rappers are you listening to right now?

La La Anthony: I like 21 Savage’s album [that] just came out. I’ve been listening to that a lot. [His American Dream] album is great. That’s what I would say is on my playlist right now.

Season three of BMF premiered in March. In what ways did you feel like your role as Markisha Taylor challenged you?

This season, Markisha is dealing with her feelings of, does she still want to teach this younger man how to be a man, or is she fed up and frustrated with that? ’Cause as women, a lot of times we want to come in and I could change him. I could teach him, but at what point do we become fed up and aggravated by that? So, she’s dealing with a lot of those emotions and really getting frustrated by him not maturing the way she wants. I think you just see the battle that a lot of women go through. Like, is this what I really want for my life? There were challenging parts of it, but it’s something that I feel like all women can relate to.

Lil Baby, 2 Chainz and Saweetie make appearances on BMF this season. How was it working with them?

I think it’s just so much fun to have so much talent on a show like BMF. It gets the fans excited to see who’s going to be there and to see a 2 Chainz, or a Lil Baby or a Saweetie. It adds to the excitement. I didn’t work with any of them personally because they weren’t in the scenes I was in. But you could just feel the energy and excitement on set for just having them there. And I’m excited to see what they bring to the table and just feel the excitement that people have to get to see them on the show.

50 Cent was one of the people who helped you to get into the acting space. What’s one of the things he’s taught you that you’ve kept with you throughout your acting roles?

I watch him when it comes to how to be a boss. He handles so many different things, and I just watch how he handles them gracefully and is able to deal with so much that comes at him. He has shown me a lot when it comes to loyalty. When he’s down for you, he’s down for you. He’s been with me from before Power, but for him to give me an opportunity to audition for Power and create such an iconic show there. And then BMF comes, and I have the opportunity to be a part of that as well. He’s always kept his word, and I just learned in this business, your word is all you have.

Your career started in music as a radio host and VJ on MTV’s Total Request Live. How has hip-hop changed from then to now?

It’s a digital world now. It’s about social media, releasing of music digitally through the internet and those platforms. In that way, it’s different. But things change with the times, including music. It’s a new wave right now, and you just got to go with what’s happening now and just see what the next wave is going to be ’cause it’s constantly changing and evolving. A lot of times, it ends up coming back to the core in a lot of ways, whether it’s a lot of these artists sampling the old, older school hip-hop artists and things like that. You always get a piece of that, even in the new music. I’m just a hip-hop head, a music head. I enjoy it.

What’s an unforgettable hip-hop memory that you can share?

I remember my first hip-hop concert when I was younger. I went to go see Nas perform, and that always stood out to me. I’m a huge Nas fan. And to be there as my first concert and seeing him perform is just something I always remember as my introduction to, wow, this is what a hip-hop concert is like. This is what happens. And it just grew my love for music and hip-hop, which then got me to intern at the radio station and everything like that. So, it just opened up my eyes to a whole new world, for sure.

Read La La Anthony's interview in the Spring 2024 issue of XXL Magazine, on newsstands now. The new issue also includes the cover story with Gunna and conversations with Metro Boomin, comedian DruskiDanny BrownTeezo Touchdown42 DuggJim Jones and Maino a.k.a. Lobby Boyz, That Mexican OT41BabyDrillRapsody, actress La La Anthony, BigXthaPlugRob49Reuben Vincent, singer Tyla and producer Tate Kobang. There's also a look at how social networking has a chokehold on rappers' feelings, how hip-hop in 2024 is experiencing more wins than losses, and the ways in which kid rappers are thriving thanks to social media.

See Photos of Gunna's XXL Magazine Spring 2024 Issue Cover Story