Tierra Whack's World Gets a Little Darker on 'World Wide Whack'

BY Vanessa Tam Published Mar 18, 2024


Tierra Whack is many things, but apologetic isn't one of them. An artist who flips through mediums as often as she does moods, Whack isn't afraid to express herself in nearly every form she can get her hands on — from bite-sized raps that run the gamut from hilarious to heartbreaking, eerie, high-concept music videos and multiple big-name corporate collaborations, the Philly native is a true omnivore.

Raised by her mother in North Philadelphia, Whack was encouraged to express herself through wordplay, eventually leading to her first viral freestyle rap moment as a teen. Instead of riding that wave and jumping straight into the limelight however, Whack took a step back and spent the next few years completing high school and honing her skills before releasing more music in 2017.

Fast forward to 2024 and Whack is sitting on an impressive body of work, including her mega-watt 15 track, one-minute-each whirlwind debut mixtape Whack World, an award-winning Hulu documentary and more collaborations and partnerships than you can count on one hand. Whack's now-signature surrealist, inner-child style — mirrored by the work of artists like Kerwin Frost, Remy Wolf and, of course, Missy Elliot — is streamlined and distinctive, a clean modernism bumping up against kaleidoscopic abandon.

"Whack World, was just an introduction, an appetizer," Whack said in a recent interview on ABC News. "But this, World Wide Whack, this is much more, it's an entrée." A darker, more restrained record than Whack World, World Wide Whack finds the rapper exploring the many ups and downs of being sentient in this world. The more traditional length of World Wide Whack gives Whack the space to sort through her experiences in a way that feels more serious than her 2018 mixtape, a rich collection of songs that saps just a bit of the colour from her sound.

Punctuated by lighthearted tracks like "Moovies" and "Shower Song" — where Whack raps about wanting to be taken on a cute date and how she feels the most confident when taking a shower, respectively — the overall vibe of World Wide Whack straddles the line between a casual listen and a deep headphone session, Whack's delicate, raw introspection bumping heads with her lightheaded theatricality. At times it's easy to get lost in the adventurous, minimal production, giving yourself over to Whack's character-informed vocal styling rather than the dark corners she navigates in her lyrics.

This dissonance just makes the album's one-two punch closers, "Two Night" and "27 Club" feel like jump scares — on the former, Whack raps about how she overcame her suicidal ideation at age 27 and made it to her 28th birthday. World Wide Whack dives headfirst into the darkness that always swirled at the periphery of Whack's music; While it loses some of her past work's joyous electricity, it reveals something truer. This is Whack's world after all, we're just lucky enough to live in it.


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