BIA is taking the music industry by storm with her remix of “Whole Lotta Money” featuring Nicki Minaj.
Nicki Minaj joined rapper BIA on the remix of her pretty girl anthem “Whole Lotta Money,” which the duo (dubbed “BarBIA”) rolled out on Minaj’s Instagram Live Friday.
BIA’s 2020 hit single went viral on TikTok with over 275,000 streams, attracting star support from Cardi B, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Lizzo, Lil Nas X and even Minaj, who said she wanted to jump on the official remix after being impressed with BIA’s lyricism.
“The lines felt fresh to me. It felt fresh for hip-hop,” Minaj said on Instagram Live. “Blessings on the future of your career. Thank you for being a genuine sweetheart.”
Here are some things to know about the up-and-coming rapper BIA:
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She’s Boston bred
BIA, whose full name is Bianca Landrau, is from Medford, Massachusetts, mere miles from Boston, which would hardly be considered the rap mecca of the world. She said her hometown has definitely made her feel like an “underdog.”
“When you live in a certain place or you’re from a certain place,” the rapper told Spin in May, “they don’t really respect it as much.”
The Puerto Rican and Italian-American rapper graduated from Medford High School and briefly attended college before dropping out (“School wasn’t for me”) to pursue music full time. “I was bartending and working all types of jobs to make things happen,” she told Latino USA in 2017.
BIA moved to Los Angeles in 2017.
She’s a former reality star
BIA appeared on rapper T.I.’s Oxygen series, “Sisterhood of Hip Hop,” which followed five female rappers trying to make it in the male-dominated music industry. https://4b77cbcc1dc99a0acab2a86ddf325cdc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
She was a cast member on the first two seasons in 2014 and 2015, but not the third: “With reality television, you gotta know when to get in and when to get out.”
When asked in 2014 what she wanted people to know about her after watching “Sisterhood of Hip Hop,” BIA told Oxygen, “I just want to be an inspiration to people, especially girls.”
She was discovered by Pharrell Williams, propelled by Rihanna
After catching the attention of rapper Fam-Lay through YouTube, BIA was introduced to Grammy award-winning musician Pharrell Williams, who presented her with a “do or die” opportunity during their first encounter.
“He threw a song on and said, ‘Write a 16 (bar verse) to this. If it’s good, I’ll keep you on (his music label) and if it’s bad, I’m gonna take you off.’ That was the first day I met him,” she recalled in 2014. “It took me 15, 20 minutes. I went in the studio, recorded it and came out and it was history.”https://4b77cbcc1dc99a0acab2a86ddf325cdc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
As a result, she signed with Williams’ I Am Other music label, in partnership with RCA Records, in 2014. She left the label in 2019 after claiming that RCA Records was preventing her from releasing music. She signed with EPIC Records in 2020.
BIA released her first EP, “Nice Girls Finish Last: Cuidado,” in 2018. She released her second EP, “For Certain,” in 2020, which features her hit single “Whole Lotta Money.” But she first gained mainstream attention for her features on “Safari” by J Balvin in 2016 and “Best on Earth” by Russ in 2019, which went viral thanks to Rihanna’s show-stopping Instagram post. Rihanna called “Best on Earth” her “new fav song.”
“That was one of the best days for me of my career,” BIA told HipHopDX in 2020. “Because Rihanna, she is one of my favorite people in the world. And to have a co-sign like that from a peer, it already means a lot.”
It was a full-circle moment. Just a year earlier, BIA said her dream collaboration would be with “Rih Rih.”https://4b77cbcc1dc99a0acab2a86ddf325cdc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
She’s toured with Ariana Grande, Pusha T
BIA was an opening act for Pusha T’s “Darkest Before the Dawn Tour” in 2016 and a main opener for the European leg of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman Tour,” alongside Victoria Monet.
The rapper was on tour in England in May 2017 with Grande when the Manchester Arena bombing occurred, claiming the lives of 22 people as they were leaving the concert.
BIA issued a statement after the bombing, telling Billboard, “My heart is heavy today as I extend my prayers to the children and families affected by last nights horrible tragedy in Manchester. We are sending our love to all of Manchester during this incredibly difficult time. We ask each one of you to join us in keeping all who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers.”
She’s a ‘girl’s girl’
BIA said she creates music that makes women feel “powerful because I didn’t have nobody that really made me feel like that,” she told Nylon in 2018.null
“I represent women with everything that I do. That’s really what it is,” she added. “That energy has to really feed and resonate with other women.”
“I love you @NICKIMINAJ,” BIA tweeted Friday after the remix dropped. “I know you didn’t have to and you did and you will always have my heart for that. Nothing will ever change that. Thank you.”