One of the first assumptions people make about Tierra Whack is that Whack can’t possibly be her last name. Can it? Yup. Just like her name, Tierra Whack has one of the most unique music styles in the current rap game. Her music challenges the norms of modern hip hop and leaves listeners in awe. The Philly native has always been true to her bold, “whacky” self through her lyrics and sound, and has achieved success by going with her gut one hundred percent. Her imaginative flows and beats even landed her a spot as a guest on Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation tour. She has been destined for hip hop since high school when she named herself “Dizzle Dizz” and rapped to win class president. In my opinion, her debut album, “Whack World” is THE album of the year that I strongly believe every hip hop fanatic needs to check out. If you haven’t already been exposed to her music, I highly recommend giving yourself proper time to listen to this epic (yet short and sweet) album to get yourself as hooked as I am.
Whack World is the first introduction I had to Tierra Whack’s artistry back in December. I found it hypnotic, very funny, lively, soothing and incredible catchy — all at the same time. It was a type of hip hop music I couldn’t quite pinpoint but was stunned by each part. Every song on this debut album is only one minute long, creating a 15-minute album altogether. While this may seem to fall short of music one typically listens to, each song is so strong, and filled with so many elements, that it comes together in a truly remarkable way. You’re itching for each song to last longer, but in awe that so much could be jam-packed into one minute.
The 15-minute album was transformed into a 15-minute music video with each song an entirely different storyline and setting. This video is an absolute must-see. Each minute speaks specifically to the song playing, and every exciting transition leaves you at the edge of your seat. This is certainly one of my favorite music videos of all time and shows the full range of Whack’s talent. She transitions between a fast-food restaurant, a trailer park, a cemetery and more, all the while maintaining her undeniable swagger. She is not only the singer and rapper in the video, but she also makes herself the theatrical star. Unlike many music videos, Whack World doesn’t lure you in with sex, it grabs your attention with pure absurdity. It was reviewed on Pitchfork as “a funhouse of minute-long vignettes, teetering between a fantastic dream and an unsettling nightmare.” If that doesn’t pique your curiosity, I’m not sure what will.
The last thing that makes her stand out is her authentic “IDGAF” attitude. While listening to a few interview podcasts with Whack, I noticed how unapologetic she was in recounting the series of events that brought her to her current status as a major hip hop artist. She was unafraid to talk about being a somewhat rowdy teen, and she answered each question with quick wit and no hesitation. She doesn’t choose to drink or smoke, as many of her friends do, and she stays sharply focused by spending all of her time in the studio at her house alone, without distractions.
Additionally, her merchandise cleverly features “Weird Hype and Creative Kids” (or WHACK) across the front of sweatshirts, t-shirts and more. Those four words pretty much encapsulate her entire vibe.
I urge you to throw yourself into Whack’s World as soon as you finish reading this. There’s nothing better than discovering a new artist you love, especially when the imagination and creativity of the artist shines through. Whether that’s by watching and listening to her debut album, or any of her more recent singles. I highly recommend listening to “Clones,” “Only Child,” and “Unemployed” in order to satisfy your hunger for her music that lasts longer than 60 seconds.
Cover Photo: Paper Magazine