About Tierra Whack
As a kid, rapper Tierra Whack loved Dr. Seuss: the crazy colors, the weird hash of syllables, the way he stretched his imagination in a million different directions but always seemed to reflect the real world. This collision of sense and nonsense was, to Whack, everything. A hip-hop surrealist in the vein of Missy Elliott and Outkast, Whack—born in 1995, and yes, her real name—started parlaying poetry and wordplay into rapping as a teenager, forging her style in her Philadelphia hometown's cypher and battle-rap scene as Dizzle Dizz. (By 17, she’d earned props from both Meek Mill and A$AP Rocky.)
After stockpiling a backlog of songs (by turns carefree, reflective, sultry, and just a little bit threatening), Whack picked her favorites and chopped them each down to a single minute—an attempt to reflect a social-media-saturated world in which people are increasingly used to getting their art in bite-sized pieces. Voila: 2018’s Whack World. (Whack, by her own admission, knows if she’s going to like something within 30 seconds, and doesn’t need to be tested for ADHD to know her mind wanders.) Dense, imaginative, and hyper-playful, the album—and its accompanying audiovisual version—established Whack as a breath of fresh air in hip-hop, a world-building presence whose imagination ranges way beyond the bars. “It's not just about the music. I'm looking at the whole thing,” the Apple Music Up Next artist told Ebro Darden. “You can have a good song, but if you can put the visual with it too? I have some people that said, 'Yo, I seen your visual first and I thought it was like some movie stuff,' and then they went to actually listen to the music and it all came together.”
More to Know
• Before using her real name, Whack rhymed as Dizzle Dizz on the Philadelphia battle-rap scene.
• Whack cites Outkast and Busta Rhymes as influences, and that’s evident in her eye-popping music videos and off-kilter pop sensibility.
• Her debut album, 2018’s Whack World, features 15 minute-long tracks, each accompanied by a video directed by Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Léger. The playful videos have earned her comparisons to Missy Elliott.
• “MUMBO JUMBO,” depicting a nightmarish dental visit, was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
• In the wake of her first album, Whack made XXL’s 2019 Freshman Class, released a handful of singles, and collaborated with artists like Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Flying Lotus.
BORNAugust 11, 1995