TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week: Tierra Whack
Although her feet are firmly planted in hip-hop, the TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week, Tierra Whack, defies simple genre categorization, while playing the conventional methods of presenting her music to an audience. The Philadelphia native’s May release, Whack World, turns a funhouse mirror on herself to reflect a range of emotions found within its structure of a one-minute runtime, mirroring Instagram’s one-minute limit on video. Her videos from the album were released sporadically on her Instagram, eventually packaged together and released with the album. The audio-visual treatment for the 15-minute album whet the appetite of listeners to an inspired artist finding a musical home for each angle of her personality. Supplying a visual accompaniment, alongside the album, immediately established Whack’s vision and aesthetic for her music.
From there, Whack fills in each brief song with lyrical dexterity, humor and her uncommon ability to synthesize threads of thought, both big and small into memorable “earworm” moments. By the end of the album, the 23-year-old Whack cracks open her psyche to ruminate on everything from her mother’s smile and her pride in designing jewelry to failed relationships and self-care, amongst a bevy of other topics. Some songs have an emphatic bounce and “flexing” quality, and one song is bolstered by a country/bluegrass melody and twang. What results from the artists desire to flaunt convention is a truly original musical experience.
After her first brush with renown in the early 2010s, Whack remained patient. With sketches of ideas, notes, and a vague idea of how to mesh diametrically opposed melodies and lyrical content, Whack was able to create build the bones of Whack World.
Whack honed her talent for off-kilter lyricism on the streets of Philadelphia, under the name Dizzle Dizz. The love of the cypher never left the Philly hip-hop scene. Unforgiving as it is, the required improvisation kept her reflexes sharp. Towards the end of high school, Whack moved to Atlanta, worked at a car wash and put together the pieces that led to her return to Philadelphia a few years later with a new sense of herself and a direction to the right outlet for her creativity.
After 2017’s surrealist “Mumbo Jumbo” track made waves on the internet and set the expectation to never know what to expect from Whack. Whack World created an impression on those who seek to maintain a sense of individuality. A string of shows, press and praise was an encouraging outpouring of support to the pursuit of genuine expression and the value of having something to say.
Check out Tierra Whack’s “Flea Market” and more on the TIDAL Rising: Hip-Hop playlist below.
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