Any rapper can — and does — drop a bar full of flashy references. But when BIA mentions a brand by name, it’s never empty.
BIA tracks are always stamped with her “BIA BIA” tag. It’s a staple in the Boston-bred rapper’s discography, as is her unmatched ability to melodically drop high-fashion brands in order to illustrate a song’s deeper narrative.
Maybe it isn’t revolutionary for a rapper to inject luxurious references and brag about a flashy lifestyle. There is, however, a significance behind the way BIA is doing it. With “London” featuring J. Cole, out Friday, she officially takes her crown as rap’s queen of the brand name-drop.
The single marks the first time BIA has rapped over a U.K. drill beat, but she’s right at home. “I’m in London, I like to go and shop at the mall,” she spits in the first line. The Epic Records signee rings off Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chrome Hearts, and even Crocs, in the chorus. “Up in the bank, though / I got the same goals,” she boasts.
By the first verse, the picture she’s trying to paint with brand-name brushes comes into focus. Her favorite line in the song is, “Wearing designer, I’m in the future / I got a future.” It’s part of a one-two punch: “Tryna go Kylie, I woke up finally / Suffer in silence, wakin’ up violent / Checkin’ the finance, choosin’ the finest / That’s the environment.”
BIA’s be-about-it style rubbed off on Cole, who went ahead and name-dropped Crocs in his verse and called “London” a “favorite song” of his:
Cole’s feature is far from an industry plant. The two have an organic bond. BIA performed at last weekend’s Dreamville Music Festival, and Dreamville Co-founder and President Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad is raving about the track.
Similarly, BIA never flaunts for the sake of it.
The 26-year-old self-made star‘s dynamic bars have already turned into prophecies.
Her 2020 EP FOR CERTAIN housed the Platinum-certified single “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY,” which received a Nicki Minaj remix last July, and “COVER GIRL” — the latter as a precursor to her becoming an actual cover girl.
“WHOLE LOTTA MONEY” featured an unforgettably clean refrain about putting on jewelry “just to go to the bodega” and wearing “Fendi on my body, but my feet is Bottega,” but it was Rihanna’s Fenty X Savage that provided BIA with a full-circle moment.
In October 2019, Rihanna called “BEST ON EARTH” by Russ featuring BIA “my new fav song,” and then tapped BIA to perform at the 2021 Savage X Fenty Show.
And that isn’t the first time the love has been mutual between BIA and a brand. Her presence is strong in the U.S., London, and beyond, and she fronted the first-ever women’s collaboration with Diddy’s Sean John in partnership with the U.K.-based Missguided in September 2020.
Her crossover appeal was further confirmed when “SKATE” soundtracked the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs:
BIA graced billboards for the Sean John x Missguided campaign, and by 2022, she was modeling for her own billboards. In February, she launched her BEAUTY FOR CERTAIN brand with lipstick, blush, and highlighter products sold through Dolls Kill.
BIA has established her place in the hip-hop and pop cultural zeitgeist before releasing her debut full-length album. If that project is anything like “London,” it’s all but confirmed that BIA will soon be the hot commodity her peers are name-dropping.