Tierra Whack Reinvents Music (Genres) – Billboard

Tierra Whack is edgy, abstract, honest and raw; traits the 26-year-old rapper attributes to growing up in North Philadelphia. When you think of Philadelphia, affectionately reduced to Philadelphia, the footsteps of Rocky Balboa come to mind – that eternal trope of reaching the top and staying there. Philly has championed some of music’s greatest performers; Will Smith, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, The Roots, and more, and finally inducted into that honorable list: Tierra Whack.

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In her teens, imagination and curiosity about the worlds painted before her by cartoons, colors, drawings and sketches, and the rhymes of Dr. Suess introduced Whack to a world of endless creative possibilities. Like most children, she remained glued to her television (even after her mother amply warned her that she would need glasses at 21, which ironically turned out to be true), and find a home in the colors, shapes, patterns, designs and sounds that spring from the screen. “I grew up watching a lot of cartoons and I guess I always liked the colors, the craziness, the freedom to do anything, like cartoons can do whatever they want – and I have always lived in my head. So I don’t know, to this day I still want to be a comic,” she admits, laughing at her own imagination. But that’s it madness and his fearless ability to live in a world unbound by constructs that elevated Whack’s music above his colleagues. In her work, fans have found a sense of adventure and experimentation that transcends 1D in a universe to which she alone holds the keys, and it’s a rewarding adventure.

But his love for music would be at the heart of his identity. There must have been something about the way Lauryn Hill captivated an audience with her voice and raw storytelling or Missy Elliott’s consistency and composure, speaking unapologetically, that resonated with the young artist. “It just moved me, like it made me feel powerful,” she says.

Whack’s musical maturity first found form over the hours scribbling poetry in his marble notebooks, and the lines soon filled in became a form of self-expression. “You have to turn this [poetry] in rap, so find instrumentals and put your poems to a beat,” she says, paraphrasing a family member who figuratively pushed her into the music studio. Her first time behind the mic was nerve-wracking, but the 13-year-old proudly brought home her burned CD, handing it out to her mother and family. “I was writing about random stuff, like anything that came to mind. If it rhymes, I put it in. The 1.2 millimeter polycarbonate filled with teenage coincidence was his trophy, and on it was his voice, playing his player. “I was just like wow, that’s really me. I can put that in the little player and I hear my voice. Like that was so cool, it was just mind-blowing,” he gushed. her about her first victory.

Her mother became her biggest cheerleader, delighted to see Whack’s first words in the notebooks catch on. It was also the young rapper’s serious commitment to the profession that made her defense natural. Just when she was 16, and after a long day at school, all she wanted was to lay down and cool off. But his mother had other plans; they were going to visit his grandmother. Reluctantly and annoyed, as any teenager would be dragged into a race he didn’t sign up for, Whack got into the car, remembering to have his seat all the way home, with the car radio on, but without paying attention to it, scrolling aimlessly on his phone. The car slowed down, even though they were still about two blocks from Grandma’s house, and around the corner was a group of guys gathered together with an official camera in tow. Later, they would discover that it was a segment of the filming of We run the streetsa series of legendary rap compilations.

After vaguely deciphering what might be going on, the duo deduced it was a rap battle, and Whack’s mother encouraged her to participate in the cipher. Never having been put in the hot seat before, she quickly mentally jotted down her best bars, and Dizzle Dizz, her Snoop Dogg-inspired rap nickname, jumped out of the car, ready to impress. And impression she did. The video was posted that evening and instantly went viral, garnering tweets from Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill and radio personalities DJ Diamond Kuts and Cosmic Kev. “At the time, it was a breath of fresh air to see a woman, especially this young one, stand up in front of a group of people that I could obviously tell she didn’t know and could play. It was significant,” says Johnny Montina, Whack’s manager when first introduced to Tierra.

At the time, Whack’s scene was all about freestyling in school canteens with friends and anyone who was curious, but in a happy serendipitous interaction, his bars were entering a new arena, with an entirely new audience (and wider). Something about the gravity of it just felt bigger. “I was in denial; I do not believe it. All I did was get up and go to my grandma’s and then have a viral video. You never know. You can never plan it.

Sculpting his sound didn’t take long. After a short stint in the desperate hope of being relatable, she delved into what her local critics craved – sounding lyrically and rapping about things people around her path relate to. Quickly, she realized her authenticity was her power play – and she again found it easy to talk about chance, draw influences from r&b and hip-hop for storytelling, and “immerse herself in all that stuff.” that’s cool” for new inspiration.

From the start, Whack knew she couldn’t be locked into one genre, but that was the expectation of those around her. But her tenacity to be unashamedly herself ultimately won out. “I love the way she hears the music,” says Hank Byerly, her sound engineer. “If something hits her, she’ll take it, interpret it, and just create something that’s super authentic to her again, but has influences from so many areas.”

The birth of hit the world came organically; creating a universe of multiple styles and genres, packaged in a way that listeners would love but not be overwhelmed. The project was an innovative compilation of 15 one-minute tracks that launched Whack’s career into genius notoriety. The visual album debuted alongside the album, giving listeners a crazy insight into the creative process that is the spirit of Whack and was the perfect introduction to the rapper’s gifts. “Tierra’s versatility makes her so different. She can do it all,” comments Nick Canonica, her digital photographer and designer. “She never gets out of being herself, and that’s genuine.”

Whack’s thrilling success story takes us back to her mother’s house, where the rapper’s sleep is interrupted by overly excited knocks on the door. She had just been nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Video — sharing recognition that year with veterans JAY Z and Beyoncé (playing The Carters), Childish Gambino, Janelle Monáe and Joyner Lucas, and his overheated cell phone filled with congratulatory messages confirmed that it was true. “It was like a dream, I always forget all the time,” she said humbly, “They [people] I now have to say Grammy-nominated artist Tierra Whack,” waving a title marquee in the air with her hands, “That’s so cool!

After the release and the cultural impact of hit the world, Tierra threw herself into touring, gaining new experiences along the way. “The stage is one of my favorite things to do. It’s like no other feeling in the world – just breathtaking. When I’m on stage, I have the power. I’m in control.

“My favorite place to travel was definitely Tokyo. They get robbed every day, just to take out the trash,” she jokes. Fashion is another component synonymous with Whack’s creativity, expressed recently in her latest collaboration Vans. Onstage, she opts for flashy and pop effects, and offstage, she gravitates towards cool patterns, shapes and colors. Constantly experimenting, she jokes that she doesn’t have a favorite outfit. She will wear something once and then take it off.

The creative vision behind the mic and the music video go hand in hand, she says, but performing live is another beast. His enigmatic fire explodes on stage, bouncing left and right, thrilling even the most distant crowd – maturing his performative presence over time from freestyle rapper in the dining room to entertainer on tour. However, regardless of the size of the crowd, Whack’s goal is the same: “I’m going to go crazy, it doesn’t matter if it’s five people, a hundred people or a thousand people, I’m going to make it work.”

His latest releases, three EPs of three titles titled, Popular?, Rap?, and R&B?, respectively, features the Whack we’ve come to love, only now it has years of growth and experiences under its belt. In this unconventional approach, the rapper proves her versatility to straddle the lines of multiple genres and perhaps the question marks after each track suggest Whack’s ongoing efforts not to produce music by industry standards. and rewrites his own interpretations. She’s been a sponge and continues to draw influences from everything around her and push the boundaries. It’s this organic creativity and authenticity that keeps fans hooked on what to expect from her, ready to accept any version of Whack they get. “I don’t think his musical style has changed. She just gives the world pieces of herself,” says J Melodic, her producer.

But humbly, even with a critically acclaimed debut album and a Grammy nomination, the proud Philadelphian doesn’t consider herself one of the main faces of Philadelphia. She just makes Tierra Whack, as honest as possible, and hopes to pave the way for future generations. “I just learned by seeing so many people going to the top and then back to the bottom. I hope never to come back down. I just have to stay as humble as possible, never forget where I come from, who I am, who was with me from the start, and always thank God.