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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Tierra Whack’s ‘WORLD WIDE WHACK’ (2024)

Get Ready for Ms. Worldwide!
Photo from Pitchfork.
Photo from Pitchfork.

In recent years, female rap has grown incredibly and exponentially. Yet, when people mention star-studded female rap stars, Tierra Whack is hardly included in the discussion. Prolific, creative, and extraordinarily idiosyncratic, Tierra Whack has enriched the indie rap scene by adapting popular children’s IPs through wickedly smart rhymes and somewhat mature themes. Her 2018 debut EP-mixtape, Whack World, introduced the world to Whack’s artful ingenuity. With each song barely surpassing a minute in length, she managed to conjure her own mythical, childlike panorama with melodic versatility. 

She continued reinventing herself as a lyrical wordsmith and eccentric rapper leading up to her debut album, WORLD WIDE WHACK. In the cover art, Whack is a Pierrot-like wo(man) on the moon surrounded by spotlights, foreshadowing the themes of overexposure, fame, and mental health issues. In 15 full-length tracks, Whack crafts intricate narratives while maintaining her signature musical eccentricity. 

When first encountering the soft and sobering MOOD SWING, you really get an idea of not what narrative Whack wants to tell but how she wants to tell it. Like with irregular mood swings, she irregularly switches between hope and despair as well as wanting to trust people even though she wants to “keep my guard up so you never get to know me.” 

Swinging to a tribal vibe, MS BEHAVE epitomizes Whack’s unconventional, devil-may-care rapping style. Adopting a Missy Elliot-esque confidence, she flares her musical prominence and a rule-bending demeanor. On the whimsical CHANEL PIT, she breezily skirts past naysayers and like “Microsoft, I’ma excel.” 

Yet, certain tracks shatter this confidence and replace it with a melodic melancholy. The fittingly skeletal NUMB flashes different images of depression: self-harm, fear of dying, and an empty, anhedonic outlook on life. Sadly, Whack has “felt this way since I was young, tell me what could I have done different,” and feels ebbed from a joy she once felt.

Threading a similarly depressing needle, DIFFICULT is all about living in a joyless state. Aside from relaying images of trauma that are seemingly “all in my mental,” Whack is absolutely right when she asserts “Living is difficult” because damn right it is! With its muddy sonic mixing similar to NUMB and disorienting guitars, you can deeply feel the rawness of Whack’s despondency. 

Even on the more sonically sublime, major-key tracks like the lo-fi jazz funk IMAGINARY FRIENDS are layered with not-so-subtle samples of sadness and more specifically, loneliness. Nostalgically somber, Whack transforms into a childlike narrator who finds solace in an imaginary friend who is the quintessential “ perfect companion.” Recovering from past abandonment, she seems to attach herself to this (imaginary) person even if it could end sourly. Not only is this one of the best songs on the album but it features some of her most quirky bars like, “Bankin’ on our downfall, take me to Wells Fargo.”

The glitzy, groovy MOOVIES is a plea for love and attention. Heck, Whack literally says “I need love, it ain’t hard as you think!” so you can’t get more obvious than that. Still, her want for a picturesque romance with a guy and having a simple movie date is more than valid. Movie dates are fun and it seems like she just wants a piece of the cinematic pie!

Cycling into upbeat funk, SHOWER SONG, and INVITATION manifest Whack at her most whimsical. As someone who loves showers, I’m glad that there’s a song about the simple yet extraordinary joy of just singing in the shower and conjuring the vocal power of singers like Britney, Whitney, Aretha, and Alicia! Meanwhile, she also uninvites naysayers on INVITATION who want to dismiss her when her “style so rare” and “they cannot replace me with no other.” 

Occasionally, she’ll dabble with experimental trap sounds like with X and SNAKE EYES, showing off her multifaceted musicality. Specifically on these tracks, she also mixes it up vocally, whether it’s triplet flows on the former or melodic humming (or borderline mooing as I initially thought it was) on the latter. 

Yet, she circles back to sadness by the emotional closer, 27 CLUB. Sleepy and somber, Whack completes the image of despair that she painted on previous tracks. It also includes an allegory of the facade of fame and the unhappiness that the public eye is oblivious to. Even with her zany displays and colorful personality, Whack reveals her truest self – one that is worlds away from her public persona. 

For a debut album, I was thoroughly impressed with how Whack inserted her quirkier, original stylings in nearly every track. I will say that the lack of replayability is unfortunately this album’s pitfall. Songs like ACCESSIBLE and BURNING BRAINS do not hit the same after the first four or so times. Even SHOWER SONG, a track I praise for its unquestionable funkiness, can feel repetitive on replay. Yet, I’m mesmerized by how each track seems to take on a different personality. Yes, many of them had similar themes, but the ingenious Whack was able to have a fresh, worldwide perspective with the gritty subject matters she covered!



Least Favorite Track(s): BURNING BRAINS

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