Boston-area rapper/singer BIA took the long road when developing her career, moving from fan-produced videos to collaborations with big-name producers and major-label interest while still in the early phases of making music. Tough, confident rhymes and flows met with more detailed production as she released more music, resulting in sinister trap bangers with the occasional R&B hook on her 2018 EP Nice Girls Finish Last: Cuidado. After switching labels in early 2020, BIA issued her second EP, For Certain.
BIA was born Bianca Landrau in 1991 in Medford, Massachusetts. She was hanging out with rappers at an early age, spending time in recording studios while secretly writing her own rhymes. By 2012, she had begun sharing music publicly, posting a video for her debut single, “High,” that was made with help from a fan. She eventually met with Pharrell and signed to his RCA-affiliated imprint i am OTHER in 2014. The label released her debut mixtape, #CHOLASEASON, in May of that year, and she went on to collaborate with stars like T.I. and Jennifer Hudson, as well as appearing in the Oxygen reality show Sisterhood of Hip Hop. In 2016, she added vocals to the J Balvin single “Safari” and opened select dates in support of Ariana Grande, all while releasing new singles of her own.
A new EP, Nice Girls Finish Last: Cuidado, surfaced in 2018 and included some of her previously released singles as well as new tracks featuring guest spots from Kodak Black and Kali Uchis. The next year, BIA left RCA and released several songs independently before inking a new deal with Epic Records. In 2020, she released a few tracks with the label that had a slightly harder edge, “Free BIA (First Day Out)” and the lurching, hypnotic “Cover Girl.” Both songs were later featured on her second EP, For Certain, issued in December of that year. A video for the EPs “Whole Lotta Money” was released the next April, and following the song’s viral success, a remix with Nicki Minaj appeared in July, reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. ~ Fred Thomas