Mala Luna Spotlight: Tierra Whack

Tierra Whack somehow Benjamin Button-ed her way into the hip-hop scene. The Philly rapper started out as a teenager under the moniker Dizzle Dizz. From her early work, you can quickly tell that she was a clear rap prodigy from a young age, yet she was poorly advised to tone down her childlike imagination in order to appear older and serious. Now 23-years-old, Tierra Whack has reassumed her birth name and is younger than ever before. If you’ve heard her name before, it’s most likely because of the brilliant 15-minute visual album Whack World, which she released in May of this year that, ironically, pushed her into the hearts of critics and fans more than any of her “serious” work ever did.

Whack World is more of an experience than it is an album, as pretentious as that may sound. The album, consisting of 15 one-minute songs with corresponding one-minute music videos, is tailor-made for the current age of social media-induced short attention spans. The concept was born out of Whack’s own inability to concentrate all of her many ideas into a cohesive album and her disdain for oversaturated 17-track albums. Inspired by the 60-second videos on Instagram, Whack created a challenge for herself she could face. The result is a genius, bite-sized project that immediately grabs the listener and doesn’t let go.

Though Whack World is currently her only album, she’s in no way a one-trick pony. Previous singles like “MUMBO JUMBO” or her feature on Temi Oni’s “Pull Up On You” prove that she is indeed able to produce a fully realized track without sacrificing any of the fun.

Whack cites one of her main childhood influences as Dr. Seuss, and the influence is clear in her work without feeling overbearing. Through playground rhymes, surreal subject matter, and direct references to the childhood games of yesteryear, Whack is able to invoke a playfulness that feels fresh rather than nostalgic. Her joy while putting on an over-exaggerated country accent or telling a story entirely through nail art is infectious and effortless. She, like Seuss, creates art that’s silly but not without meaning, and the colorful worlds still feel grounded in some sort of reality – maybe not our reality, but I certainly believe that it’s Whack’s reality.

Also, she just seems really, really cool and funny and I want to be her best friend. Luckily for me (and for you, if you also have good taste), Whack will be in Texas on Saturday, October 27th for San Antonio’s Mala Luna Music Festival. If you’re interested in joining me on the Whack Train™, check out the talent-filled lineup and buy your tickets before they sell out!

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