Dallas-native singer/songwriter Jenn Whitlock didn’t just come to party, she came to crush the music scene with her unapologetically body positive flows. The 28-year-old — who is now better known as Lardi B — started making music in 2011, but became larger than life in January of 2018 when she began doing parodies to her favorite hits.
“My manager Mike actually came to me with the idea,” the artist tells Billboard. “I was playing a show with my guitar player [Adam Wright] and Mike came up to me and said ‘Jenn, you know I love you and think you’re a beautiful person, but would you ever consider doing a parody to Cardi B’s music and calling yourself Lardi B?’ ”
Laughing hysterically, Whitlock told Billboard she was immediately up for the challenge as she’d never released a rap song before. Her first parody entitled, “Bodak Jello,” reached more than 7 million views between Facebook and YouTube.
Soon after, Whitlock dropped the video for “Thicky Thighday,” — a parody of Lil’ Dicky and Chris Brown’s “Freak Friday.” The video garnered more than 1.7 million views and expanded her rapidly growing fan base. “I’ve received so much positive feedback from women reaching out saying I’ve helped them feel more confident and beautiful,” she recounts. “That just warms my heart! The fact that I’m doing what I love and can still have a positive impact on people — I strongly believe that laughter and music can change the world.”
Not only has Whitlock captured the hearts of her fans, she also caught the attention of rapper Trina and Cardi B herself: Both rap stars shared the artist’s latest video “They Like That Im Fat” (a spin on Cardi’s Billboard Hot 100-topper “I Like It”) on their Facebook accounts. The video was posted Thursday evening and amassed over 2.4 million views within the first 12 hours.
“I couldn’t put my phone down; it just didn’t seem real,” Whitlock says. “I’m incredibly thankful to the fans, friends, and family that have supported me the whole journey.”
Though Lardi’s catchy parodies catapulted her to viral fame, she still considers herself to be a serious artist committed to speaking the language of the heart. “My favorite song is ‘Let Me In,‘ which is an original I wrote about my sister going through a hard drug addiction phase,” the artist revealed. “It was very personal, and I found that it helped a lot of people through their own struggles.”
As Whitlock continues making America laugh while shifting the narrow perception of beauty in media, her music is solely about making people feel good about who they are — free of social pressure: “Man, the key to happiness is loving yourself. Surround yourself with real people that love you for who you are inside and out –and all the negative will be invisible. Be strong, Be brave. Be beautiful.”