On Sunday, the Grammy winner sang a stunning rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of the New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Latifah, 53, sported an all-white suit to perform the national anthem at the NFL sporting event, which found the rapper and actress returning to her native New Jersey. She sang through a classic take on the composition while cameras filmed around the stadium and showed the Statue of Liberty in New York City, as the performance doubled as a 9/11 tribute.
Viewers were wowed by Latifah's powerhouse vocal chops throughout her take on the National Anthem — and afterwards, conversation was sparked on social media due to some not realizing the Girls Trip star has long been a musician.
While it's been some time since she released new music, Latifah's career launched as a rapper in the '90s with hits like "U.N.I.T.Y." — which earned a best rap solo performance award at the Grammys in 1995.
She's since placed more of an emphasis on the acting side of her career but continues to perform and recently spoke about her music in Netflix's Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop, a docuseries named after Latifah's 1989 track "Ladies First."
Last month, she spoke to POPSUGAR about the 50th anniversary of the hip-hop music genre and said the celebration makes her "think about my mom and how much I love my mother, and I miss [her] and I'm so thankful for her."
"I would not be where I am today,” Latifah (whose real name is Dana Owens) added, referring to the impact her late mother, Rita Owens, had on her career. Rita died on March 21, 2018, following an ongoing heart condition.
Latifah also credited her mom for supporting her when she was up and coming in the rap game.
"None of us would be here without those who did support us and believed that [hip-hop] was not just a fad and told us to go for it. I'm just happy that I had that kind of mom who loved hip-hop."
Latifah also shared with the outlet that her mom supported her from the beginning by hiring her DJ, Mark the 45 King, who later became her first producer. This same introduction meant the rapper would meet her Flavor Unit crew — a group of MCs — which would lead them all to score a record deal.
She revealed that her mom would also accompany her to shows when she was 17, “because I was too young to be out there by myself.”
“Everybody knew who [she] was,” Latifah recalled to POPSUGAR. "They used to call her Umi. . . . She loved this thing called hip-hop."