Analog Adventures: Whack World
About the Artist
To say Tierra Whack is simply a rapper is underselling the creative genius that she is. She says that her last name stands for “Wild, Hype, And Creative Kids”. She calls Philadelphia her home, and it is here where she began to cut her teeth in the local battle rap scene at the age of 15. Her mom saw her talent and did everything she could to nurture it. Battle rap allowed Whack to build a name for herself, but she quickly plateaued and sought out new ways to express her artistry. She spent the next few years moving from Atlanta back to Philadelphia. During this time she began learning how to record, edit, and mix her music. This is also when she began writing Whack World.
The Record Itself
Whack World is a fifteen minute condensed concept album. Each of the fifteen tracks are only a minute long, but they do not lack full-length quality writing or production. The styles vary wildly, going from trap beats to bluesy bars. Whack World originally was written to be shared in short form, with Tierra Whack releasing a music video for each song on the album. The videos stand alone on their own, but together they are tonally consistent. The album was meant to be fully experienced with the audio and visual, which makes owning a vinyl copy of this strange. This is not to say that the music does not stand on its own, but rather it excels by minimaxing. Often times songs either drag on too long or end before they achieve greatness. Whack World circumvents this by minimaxing the songs by minimizing the length, and maximizing the content. Low risk, high reward.
“Takin’ bubble baths, love to see my mother laugh
Can’t wait ’til Soup home so I can hug his ass” – Tierra Whack, Bug’s Life.
Whack World is a compact 10” clear record, with side A and side B being identical in content. Sticking by her Philadelphia roots, the cover art is a sculpture of a crane machine by Philly native Caroline Kunka. The sad clown hanging on to the claw is a perfect visualization of the experience of the album. It also reflects the overall concept, as Whack said she grew up as the class clown while struggling with depression. Much like the mask of tragedy and comedy, Whack wears each face with such strong conviction that the listener forgets she is wearing one.
The transparent vinyl and rear cover.
Is It Worth It?
Whack World is an experience unlike anything else. Nobody in rap, let alone any genre, is doing what Tierra Whack is doing. The level of artistry and production on this album are top-notch with the videos matching or surpassing them in some instances. Even if you are not a fan of rap, Whack World is worth a listen and view. The limited-edition vinyl pressing is fetching prices in the sub $20 range on Discogs, which is a steal given the content.
- Bug’s Life
- Pet Cemetery