Tales: Tierra Whack

Ribbet collage

Tierra Helena Whack is an American performer who is best known for her freestyling abilities, rapping, singing, songwriting, and producing her music videos.  She was nominated for a Grammy in 2019 for Best Music Video for her 2017 single called Mumbo Jumbo. Her stage name is Tierra Whack, and yes Whack is indeed her last name. I discovered Tierra Whack on YouTube like most of my music. I watched her perform Unemployed on the Color Show before I got to witness the magical craziness that is the official music video.

Her Color Show performance starts with an orange-tangerine background with the sound of someone hitting two treble clef notes on a piano, then Tierra Whack appears wearing a pair of well-tailored orange trousers with a matching turtleneck top and a vest that upon first glance reminded me of Goku and Dragon Balls (the anime). Her pants with its wide legs that covered her shoes instantly reminded me of something Victoria Beckham would wear. I describe all of this to say that she was very well put together and her outfit seem to reflect something in her personality. She starts rapping over an emerging beat that had undertones of a sound that I only can remember hearing in old Japanese samurai movies, and I was floored! She has remarkable breathing ability because, at one point, I was nervously waiting for her to take a deep breath that would interrupt the whole song, but she didn’t. She rattled off lyrics effortlessly, and I could understand every word (not a mumble rapper).  Within those few minutes, she painted a sound landscape that made me feel like I was a passenger in a vehicle watching a rare and unusual life form pass by. She displayed a kind of magnificence that made me anxious about turning away for fear that she would disappear leaving me to wonder if she was real. 

Initially, the song Unemployed didn’t make me think too hard about what was being said and how it related to unemployment. Instead, I was consumed with her witty and comical lines such as …

 “Your real car is a slingshot”

“Don’t need a gun, I use a slingshot”

“Front on me and I’ll punch yo’ ass flat”

“You a rat-rat, rat-a-tat-tat-tat-a-tat-tat”

“Don’t push me, bitch, I am not a stroller”

The song was so interestingly put together lyrically that I had to watch the official music video.

Tierra Whack – Unemployed, A COLORS SHOW performance


 The music video for Unemployed was just as eye-catching as Whack herself. It didn’t take itself too seriously but was able to illustrate her level of creativity and eccentrism. The video stands out with tons of potatoes, potato dishes, pota-(toes), and couch potatoes eating other potatoes. It was an absolute genius and reminded me of Missy Misdemeanor Elliot.  I later saw an interview with Tierra Whack, who said that while everyone was going in one direction, she was going in the other. After collectively watching most of her music videos, interviews, and reactions to her work. I started thinking about how we are always told to be our own unique self, but there is so much pressure and rejection an individual receives for being a self that is opposite the mainstream idea of what a person should act and be like.  Being your true self in a world that wants everything to have similar properties is difficult to exist in, so I must give Tierra Whack credit where credit is due.  She is a living definition of avant-garde and I can’t wait to see what’s next.  

Tierra Whack – Unemployed  [Official Video]






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