Tierra Whack is a talent to be reckoned with. My introduction to the American artist came via text from a friend with the almost urgent command, “you need to watch this”.
What accompanied that text was Whack’s debut album in the form of a fifteen minute music video. The fifteen minutes has relevance as the video is the album in it’s entirety, which itself is created from fifteen, one-minute songs. It’s a bold concept, and almost frustratingly tantalising as Whack brings you to a point before dropping you for another track, another hook, and in some instances another sound altogether. That’s because this artist doesn’t follow any rules. The album jumps from rap, to mumble rap, to pop, to country with perhaps the only link being Whack’s ability to turn flippant, or comical subject matters into stories that seem to matter. And some of them really do. With lyrics like, “Probably would’ve blew up overnight/ If I was white”, and “Best believe I’m gone’ sell/ If I just be myself”, you can’t help feel a poignancy within her work, even if in some instances it appears that she’s singing about her dead dog. The trick with Whack is you can never quite tell, the lines are blurred between what is a joke, and with what is actually dark humour concealing a much deeper truth.
The world that Whack has created is extraordinary, and although completely different, one can’t help but feel like we’re seeing a reincarnation of Missy Elliot with her all encompassing art form. In Black Nails, we see Whack in a nail salon, head down and concealed by her hood, the representing embellishments on her fingernails the only signal that she herself is playing the part. As we transition into Bugs Life, Whack’s hidden face is revealed, half swollen and dropping on one side. It’s a startling revelation that really takes your breath away. And that same gut response continues for the entire fifteen minutes, which in today’s world of short attention spans is truly quite remarkable.
Tierra Whack’s Whack World, is out now on all the usual outlets. Make sure you take the time to watch the visual representation of the album, it really is quite something.