Tierra Whack - Whack World (Self Released)

Philly rapper's inspired debut is a dazzling audio-visual feast

Released Jun 22nd, 2018 via self-release / By Emilie Kneifel
Tierra Whack - Whack World (Self Released) Tierra Whack’s world is whack. Her album, Whack World, whacks. It thrums. It’s a merry-go-round through her psyche, sparkling and aqua and pink until, like any carnival ride, it halts too soon, its taste vanishing like chewing gum. The snappiness of the album’s “fifteen songs in fifteen minutes” concept sounds like a selling point for a workout routine or an insurance plan, and there is something gimmicky about it — it’s no coincidence that Instagram videos also last one minute. But Whack World’s brevity doesn’t mean it lacks depth or detail; on the contrary, each song is a plush alcove unto itself (watch its video if you don’t believe me: think purples, puppets, dog fur confetti, a person-house). Whack zigzags from plinky piano to mumble rap to trap to… country?, spurring a circling diorama of self.

Her overtones of kid-wonder whimsy — inspired by such zany characters as Dr. Seuss and The Wiggles — imbue her songs with bubbling mischief. Take Pet Cemetery, for example, a gospel-rap ode to her dead dog, which features, naturally, more than a few woofs. Or when she invokes the pedagogical songs of our youth on Fruit Salad, singing, 'I eat all my vegetables/ Lower my cholesterol.' On Silly Sam, she, maybe most shockingly, contorts a nursery rhyme: 'Patty-cake, patty-cake/ Fuck Patty, Patty fake.' She’s resuscitated so many childhood half-memories, and tapped their effervescence for her own froth.

Despite her kooky absurdity, Whack isn’t a caricature. She doesn’t evade sincerity entirely, the gloom which underlines her flash and bounce. She can flip from neon nothings to bleak truths within a rhyme, as on Bugs Life: 'Takin’ bubble baths/ Love to see my mother laugh.' And her harder rap (4 Wings, Sore Loser) can break silly sweet (Pretty Ugly, Hungry Hippo) like a lollipop with a gushing core, only to reassemble. Just like that. The real magic is in Whack’s acrobatics. Her hasty tight-rope wobble to every corner of her heart.

Tierra Whack uncompromisingly conducts her carousel, bopping up and down and around its candy-stripe poles, upside down. Somehow sideways. And she’ll keep swirling whether you get on board or not ('Best believe I’m gon’ sell/ If I just be myself'). She’ll cackle and sing as she spins wildly, blurring into a cacophony of colour, lifting off and leaving you behind. Fracking more fun in fifteen minutes than your smaller self could ever dream. 8/10