Dallas' Jenn Whitlock had been making rock music under her own name for seven years. But last year, an off-the-cuff suggestion from her manager led to a new persona and a hip-hop parody song with a music video that was streamed 7 million times in two days.
"He just kind of threw the idea," Whitlock says. "He said we should remake that Cardi B song, and I just took it and ran with it."
As Lardi B, Whitlock changed popular hip-hop songs into songs about food, and her phone has been blowing up ever since. She was able to quit her job as a dog walker and go on tour.
"It's been insane," Whitlock says. "I couldn't sleep for three or four days because I couldn't put my phone down. I had to keep it plugged in because it would just die."
She had never rapped before and didn't have a theater background, but Whitlock learned fast and has worked tirelessly to keep the momentum going and constantly improve the quality of her work. Music videos that looked like they were shot in someone's apartment started featuring special effects and costumes. And Lardi B can rap.
She now has over 60 million streams, and her videos have gone viral several times. Cardi B and Trina even noticed and shared the video for her song "They Like That I'm Fat," a parody of Cardi B's "I Like It," on social media.
With a body-positive message, Lardi B has quickly become the "Weird Al" Yankovic of Texas. But now she is making a conscious effort to move away from parody songs. Her cover of Halsey's "Without Me" even proves that this persona can handle a surprisingly serious tone.
"It's fun doing the parodies, and I make women feel better about themselves, and that's awesome," she says. "But I do want to show people that I am a real artist."
Whitlock has been overwhelmed by the support she receives from fans online. "It's just kept growing, and there are days when I get thousands of messages," she says. "I realized this is about loving yourself and not caring what anyone has to say about you. The fans showed me that."
Lardi B also has more than her share of haters online, and they are devoted. But it just put more eyes on her. "They're evil," she says, before laughing. "But the love I get overpowers the hate."
Her original song, "Uptown Boys," is about Dallas. "It's about that SMU crowd with khaki shorts and Polo collared shirts," she says. "They are all the same guy. I cannot tell them apart."
The video for her latest song, "Food Porn," a parody of "Good Form" by Nicki Minaj, even features a Post Malone impersonator -- because anything goes in a parody video.
And Whitlock hasn't given up on being herself. She is working on a rock album under her own name.
"I'm not letting go of that other side of me," she says. "I just have a double persona thing going on, you know?"