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The Many Shades of Tierra Whack

Following the release of her debut album, World Wide Whack, the hip-hop eccentric shares her love of weird movies, her creative outlook, and her advice to artists.

by Ozioma Nwabuikwu

Photos by AB + DM

Tierra Whack is one of hip-hop’s coolest misfits, but on top of it all, she’s also really nice. I know because she comes bearing such great energy on our Wednesday morning Zoom call. A natural entertainer, Whack loves to make people smile, evident in her signature comic wit. “I was always the class clown and I’d get in trouble for it, but even the teacher would laugh,” she recounts. 

Every facet of Whack’s public personality leans into the absurd, especially her bright fashion and visual curations. She even hosted a Wild Wig Party to celebrate the release of her debut album, World Wide Whack, with one important caveat: no wig, no entry! Whack has rarely shied away from expressing her true self, inspiring her fans to do so in turn, but on this latest project, she goes even deeper.

You may know Tierra Whack for her viral hits, expansive fashion sense or as Beyonce’s silliest collaborator. However you got here, you’ve definitely encountered the Grammy-nominated MC. After cutting her teeth in Philly street rap battles at 15, Whack made a name for herself as a genre anarchist while collaborating with the most creative voices in the industry. After the 2018 release of the highly acclaimed Whack World, the exactly 15-minute/15-song debut, the world wanted more – but Whack took her time to bless us with her latest formidable project, her debut studio album World Wide Whack, releasing a series of 2021 genre-expansive EPs and formidable collaborations in the interim. Six years later, Whack fleshes out her vision and celebrates her ingenuity while ruminating on life, death, and the trappings of fame.

It’s not the first time an artist has made lemonade out of life’s sour lemons, but World Wide Whack effortlessly explores the nuances of mental health struggles, making listeners laugh, cry and think in unison. When asked how she knows what’s good, Whack doesn’t offer many details apart from an innate knowing and a willingness to experiment with her team. “We never know what we’re going to do, we just try things and then if it works, it works and if it doesn’t, we just move on,” she says. She has another simple answer about picking beats for sonic outliers on the project, like “MS BEHAVE.” “The beat has to speak to me. It has to say, ‘Hi Tierra, do me!’” Her skill doesn’t make this album any less of a labour of love, however. Over the last few years, Whack has tirelessly worked on her music as a way to process intense challenges with depression and anxiety. 

After a lot of self-work, Whack has regained her sense of perspective and wonder. “I’m more open than I was [before],” she confesses. She stays inspired and sane through creative endeavours such as doodling on her iPad, recharging alone and with friends and watching weird movies. She recently watched Saltburn. “I was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ but I loved it so much!” Music is also a great source of comfort for Whack, even her own. She recently stumbled back upon her self-care-infused collaboration with Alicia Keys, “Me x 7.” “That song feels so good, it makes me want to wash my face and exfoliate,” she says. “It just feels so real, like take all your makeup off and just run outside and show the world the real you, flaws and all.” 



Nearly one month after World Wide Whack’s release, Whack feels just as good about it. “I did that and I’m proud of what I did and I meant everything I said,” she says. Vulnerability hasn’t always come easy due to her Philly upbringing, but she’s committed to the process and encourages other artists not to shy away from sharing from that space. “You have to appreciate the journey and the process…If you’re making a bunch of sad music, make that shit!” Unabashed experimentation is the name of the game, whether it’s in music, style or personal relationships, and she doesn’t plan on stopping. For other artists struggling, she offers: “Keep spilling, keep pouring, pour all your paint on the canvas and just see what you get.”

Tierra Whack has always bent the bounds of form and lyricism, but she’s finally ready to turn that expansive lens onto herself. Now preparing for a soon-to-be-announced tour, there’s no doubt that she’ll keep surprising us. 

Listen to World Wide Whack everywhere you find music.