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Tierra Whack – World Wide Whack

Philadelphia rhymesayer Tierra Whack can still pack a cheeky punch via bite-sized songs. She showcased that skill on her 2018 debut mixtape, the 15-minute Whack World—followed by three 2021 EPs, R&B?, Pop? and Rap?, that proved her deftly mutable among those genres. Nearly three years later, on debut album World Wide Whack, she makes her grand return as hip-hop’s favorite post-Missy Elliott oddball.

A sing-songy but sullen Whack opens WWW with “Mood Swing,” protectively deciding to “keep my guard up so you never get to know me.” The irony is that, throughout an LP of jungly production, clever humor, and adept rhyme schemes, it feels like we know her even better: Whack’s lyrics are often vulnerable and raw, with verses that reflect her shifting moods. 

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On the gloomy “Numb,” she mumble-croons about anxiety and heartbreak, observing, “How’d I make it this far? / Long sleeves cover scars, my tears in a jar.” She’s folkish on the diaristic “Difficult,” singing about stress and insomnia as she admits, “I’ve been looking for somebody I can vent to.” Whack slips into a tranquil indie-rock vibe on centerpiece “Imaginary Friends”—but even in that dreamy context, she sings, “When I grow up, I want to hang from a ceiling.” The atmosphere isn’t entirely dark, though: Synth-y single “Shower Song” presents her lighthearted, comical side—a reminder that she can keep up with the TikTok times. 

WWW stretches Whack’s stylistic range, reintroducing an artist who seems more deeply in tune with her emotions. – GRADE: B


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