Tierra Whack

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Tierra Whack
Birth nameTierra Helena Whack
Born (1995-08-11) August 11, 1995 (age 24)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2011–present
Associated actsKenete Simms

Tierra Helena Whack (born August 11, 1995)[2][3] is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. She originally performed as "Dizzle Dizz" as a teenager, but later on reverted to her birth name in 2017.[4] Her debut studio album, Whack World, was released in May 2018 and received widespread critical acclaim.[5] Her 2017 single, "Mumbo Jumbo", had an accompanying music video that garnered a Best Music Video nomination for the 2019 Grammy Awards.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Whack was born in 1995 and raised by her mother in North Philadelphia.[7] She has two younger siblings. In a 2018 interview with The Fader, Whack mentioned that she and her father are estranged.[2] Whack was an introverted kid growing up; she would write to help herself deal with her insecurities.[8] As a child, Whack loved the author Dr. Seuss so much that she would rhyme together each of her sentences for her homework assignments.[8]

Whack pinpointed the exact moment when her love for rhyming began; she was to rhyme for a homework assignment for class, and after receiving positive feedback, she continued with it. She later asked her mother for composition books to fill with rhymes and lyrics before she would eventually start recording herself. [9]

Whack attended The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush for three years before finishing high school in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] At Benjamin Rush, she was a vocal major, and was one of few black students in a predominately white graduating class.[2] With some difficulty, she and her friends persuaded their principal to let them perform the finale number from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit for the school vocal showcase,[2] and Whack performed a rap verse. Later in Whack's career, she toured with Lauryn Hill, who starred in the 1993 film.

At around the age of fifteen, Whack who went by the moniker "Dizzle Dizz" appeared in a 2011 freestyle video produced by Philadelphia's underground music collective We Run the Streets.[10] Her mother drove past the group of men freestyling and encouraged her to join.[11] She released several tracks as Dizzle Dizz, including "Dizzy Rascvls", but struggled with depression in the months following.[2] Despite still being a teenager, Whack gained notoriety in the streets of Philadelphia as "Dizzle Dizz."[12] Despite her growing fame, Whack grew bored. There was no way to make money in free styling and no way to creatively grow. She claimed there was little experimentation and growth beyond battle rapping if she were to stay in Philadelphia.[7]

Her mother elected to move them both out of Philadelphia, so Whack could finish school.[2] After moving to Atlanta, Whack began working at a Mister Car Wash, which allowed her to save up for a Mac laptop and start recording her music. She was often the only woman working on the line at the car wash, and her former manager said she was a memorable person with an impressive drive, which Whack credits to her mother.[13]

In Atlanta, Whack kept a low profile, having felt the fame back home. She wanted to keep to herself to have a chance to focus solely on her music.[7] By the time she returned to Philadelphia, she had a laptop full of two years' worth of music; which she never ended up sharing with anyone.[14]

Whack eventually returned to Philadelphia, leaving her family behind in Atlanta. It was during this time, however, that she was actually homeless for three months. She hopped around friends' homes but refused to return to Atlanta. She believed staying in Philadelphia would be the best for her music career. [7]

Musical career[edit]

2015–17: Career beginnings[edit]

By 2015, Whack had moved back to Philadelphia, and she reconnected with Kenete Simms, a sound engineer and music producer whom she knew from her teenage years.[2] Whack credits Simms as her collaborator.[2] It was during this time in which she reconnected with Simms that she learned how to properly mix her own music. Simms helped her learn how to use the equipment in order to help her make music more easily. [14] In 2017, she signed with Interscope Records.[2] Johnny Montina is her manager.[12]

In March 2017, Whack made her debut as Tierra Whack with 3 tracks, including "Toe Jam" and "Shit Happens".

In October 2017, Whack released "Mumbo Jumbo", a hip hop single and accompanying music video which featured the young rapper performing while wearing a mouth prop.[2] Most of the lyrics to the track are purposefully unintelligible.[2] She also toured with Flying Lotus in 2017.[2]

2018–present: Whack World and weekly singles[edit]

Whack's debut fifteen track album, Whack World, was released on May 30, 2018 and received a "Best New Music" accolade from Pitchfork. Critics praised the unusual format of the album — each song lasting about 1 minute each. Whack released each short track on Instagram, each accompanied by a short film directed by Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Léger.[4] The multimedia project received widespread critical acclaim. Robert Christgau gave the album an A-minus and reported in Vice that his wife, fellow critic Carola Dibbell, loved the video, saying "it gave me reason for living".[15] Often referred to as the 'Missy Elliott' of this generation, Whack has gained a great amount of applaud for the creativity and eccentricity of her music videos. The track "Mumbo Jumbo" received a nomination for Best Music Video for the 2019 Grammy Awards.[6] In October 2018, Whack travelled to Tokyo, Japan for a long-term artistic sabbatical.[2] In an episode of Genius's "The Cosign" series on YouTube in which current artists who have been in the industry have the opportunity to watch videos of newer artists, rapper Remy Ma chose to cosign Whack. Despite the fact that she mentioned seeing potential in each of the artists, Remy said, "I pick her because I feel like she brought the entire package as far as the song, the delivery, the vocals, and the actual visual. I feel like she did something that was super out of the ordinary, and I enjoyed it. And I wanna watch it again." In the episode of The Cosign, Whack's music video for her single "Unemployed" was put in a group with music videos from other female MCs including Kash Doll, CupcakKe, Mulatto, Tay Money, and That Girl Lay Lay. She has recorded as-yet-unreleased music with Meek Mill and Childish Gambino.[2] In 2018, she toured with 6lack on his world tour, From East Atlanta with Love. Briana Younger, writer for The Fader, wrote that "popular and mainstream rap hasn't championed a darker-skinned woman since Missy Elliot...and Whack seems poised to be the one." Whack acknowledged that women in the music industry often aren't afforded the privilege to make art for art's sake, but she refuses to let that inhibit her.[16]

Starting February 19, 2019, Whack released one single per week for five weeks in a series she called "#whackhistorymonth."[17] These singles included "Only Child", "Clones", "Gloria", "Wasteland", and "Unemployed".[18][19][20][21][22] She will be appearing at many festivals in the 2019 festival season including Coachella. Whether these tracks will be released under a full-length album has not yet been revealed. Whack has stated that she is not thinking about a timeline for a new album, saying “I’m not gonna drive myself crazy. I’m having fun creating what I’m creating.”[13]

Whack also collaborated with Flying Lotus on the song "Yellow Belly" for his 2019 album Flamagra and she was later named as one of the members of XXL's "2019 Freshman Class" on June 20, 2019.[23]


Whack's beginnings in rap started out in battle rapping, and it is something she looks upon fondly. While she appreciates the foundation that it gave her for her music, she wanted to aim higher than just rap battles. Seeing artists such as Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, and Eminem had inspired her to become a true artist. In doing so, she would be seen as something more serious than just a battle rapper. [24]

Whack cites Outkast, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, and Kelis as some of her musical influences. [25]

Whack claims there are many different things that inspire and motivate her and she wants to be able to portray those to her fans in her music.[24] She even credits things such as Sesame Street or No! David as some of her influences; these are clearly seen through her visuals from her album's music video. [7] Her inspirations come from everything around her; from her relationships to people to inanimate objects.[25] Her single, "Only Child", for example, was created after dating a man who's behavior she aligned with that of someone who grew up an only child.[26]

Whack's mother is often credited as one of, if not the, biggest inspirations for her music. She recalls the days her mother would play gangster rap during car rides.[9] For her single, "Unemployed", her mother had actually helped her create the hook for the song.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Whack has written poetry since she was a child.[28] Writing was a way for her to deal with her shyness and insecurities.[11] She is also an accomplished spoken word performer.[10]

She currently lives in Philadelphia with her mother and two siblings.[2] She is still “Philly-based,” saying that Philadelphia is her home and where she feels grounded.[29] She owns a cat, whom she named Starkey after a Whole Foods brand of sparkling water.[2] She does not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.[2] She is severely allergic to insects, a condition she satirizes in the music video for her 2018 track, "Bugs Life".[28]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected details
Title Album details
Whack World


As lead artist[edit]

List of singles as a lead artist, showing year released
Title Year Album
"Toe Jam"[30] 2017 non-album singles
"Child Please"[31]
"Shit Happens"[32]
"Mumbo Jumbo"[33]
"Only Child"[34] 2019 TBA

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles as a featured artist, showing year released
Title Year Album
"Pull Up on You"[39]
(Temi Oni featuring Tierra Whack)
2018 non-album single
(Kbn Kbnlondon featuring Tierra Whack)

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"Yin/Yang"[41] 2019 Student 1 Upprclssmn
"Yellow Belly"[42] Flying Lotus Flamagra
"My Power"[43] Beyoncé, Moonchild Sanelly and Nija The Lion King: The Gift


  1. ^ "HITS Daily Double : The B-Side - Tierra Whack (Interscope)". HITS Daily Double.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Kameir, Rawiya (1 November 2018). "Tierra Whack". The Fader. the Fader. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Tierra Whack on Instagrm". Instagram. August 11, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Coscarelli, Joe. "15 Songs in 15 Minutes: Inside Tierra Whack's Whimsical, Twisted World". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Whack World by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Harvilla, Rob (2018-12-07). "The Winners and Losers of the 2019 Grammy Nominations". The Ringer. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  7. ^ a b c d e Dazed (2019-06-03). "From homelessness to Philly rap sensation, Tierra Whack is the real deal". Dazed. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  8. ^ a b "Tierra Whack is on a quest to make hip hop weird again". Huck Magazine. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  9. ^ a b Driving around Philly with hip hop original Tierra Whack, retrieved 2019-10-23
  10. ^ a b Bailey, Samaria (15 May 2018). "A conversation with Tierra Whack about self-confidence, Philadelphia and that last name". Revolt.tv. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b Douze, Khalila (2019-03-20). "Tierra Whack is on a quest to make hip hop weird again". Huck Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  12. ^ a b Tierra Whack: Up Next Film Preview | Apple Music, retrieved 2019-10-23
  13. ^ a b "Tierra Whack's Labor Of Self-Love, From Car Wash To Critical Mass". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  14. ^ a b Tierra Whack on Hip Hop Culture and the Creative Process | GaryVee Business Meetings, retrieved 2019-10-23
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 13, 2018). "Robert Christgau on G.O.O.D Music's Good (and Less Good) Music". Vice. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  16. ^ Younger, Briana. "Tierra Whack is building her own world". The Fader. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  17. ^ Whack, Tierra [@tierrawhack]. "NEW SONG! "Only Child" out now! #whackhistorymonth 😅🤝👑@beats1official @zanelowe [Instagram photo]". Instagram. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  18. ^ Yoo, Noah (February 19, 2019). "Tierra Whack Drops New Song 'Only Child': Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  19. ^ Strauss, Matthew (February 26, 2019). "Listen to Tierra Whack's New Song 'CLONES'". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  20. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie; Strauss, Matthew (March 5, 2019). "Tierra Whack Performs on 'Kimmel,' Shares New Song 'Gloria': Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Strauss, Matthew (March 12, 2019). "Tierra Whack Shares New Song 'Wasteland': Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  22. ^ "Tierra Whack - "Unemployed"". Stereogum. 2019-03-19. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  23. ^ "XXL Freshman 2019 Cover Revealed". XXL. June 20, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Tierra Whack On ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ & Growing Beyond Battle Rap | THAT NEW NEW | MTV News, retrieved 2019-10-23
  25. ^ a b Tierra Whack's 2019 XXL Freshman Interview, retrieved 2019-10-23
  26. ^ Tierra Whack: Up Next Beats 1 Interview | Apple Music, retrieved 2019-10-23
  27. ^ Tierra Whack - Unemployed | Song Stories, retrieved 2019-10-23
  28. ^ a b St. Felix, Doreen (1 July 2018). "Tierra Whack Stretches the Limits of One-Minute Songs". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  29. ^ Cineas, Fabiola (2019-03-23). "North Philly Rapper Tierra Whack Is the Future of Hip-Hop". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  30. ^ "Toe Jam - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 2, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  31. ^ "Child Please - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 3, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  32. ^ "S**t Happens - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 4, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  33. ^ "MUMBO JUMBO - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. October 6, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  34. ^ "Only Child - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. February 19, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  35. ^ "CLONES - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. February 26, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  36. ^ "Gloria - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 5, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  37. ^ "Wasteland - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 12, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  38. ^ "Unemployed - Single by Tierra Whack". Apple Music. March 19, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  39. ^ "Pull Up on You (feat. Tierra Whack) - Single by Temi Oni". Apple Music. May 18, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  40. ^ "Salad (feat. Tierra Whack) - Single by Kbn Kbnlondon". Amazon Music. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  41. ^ "Upprclssmn by Student 1". Apple Music. January 1, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  42. ^ "Flamagra by Flying Lotus". Apple Music. May 24, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  43. ^ "The Lion King: The Gift by Beyoncé". Apple Music. July 19, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]