Miss Whack: Rap’s Newest and Truest Weirdo

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Rapper Tierra Whack’s music and aesthetic present a very clear picture of who she is and where she wants to seat herself in this industry. Her ebullient and effervescent style of rapping–energetic and snarky–mirrors her very personality. On the phone her voice bubbles over with mirth and her thoughts, though a mile a minute, stick to one precise directive: whatever she is feeling at the moment. Her video for the track “Mumbo Jumbo” features bright, beautifully colored backgrounds and slightly triggering, maniacal dentists. In the end, Tierra is left with a perfect but all be disproportionate clown of smile. While many claimed it was a nod to the #perfect expensive smiles almost required in today’s society of vanity livestreamed, after talking to the artist herself, it is clear that is Tierra who is the smile too bright and too humorous to fit in and look just quite right. Saint Heron hopped on the phone with Miss Whack to discuss her kaleidoscope of a brain and what’s she bringing to the new year.

Judnick Mayard: When did you start making music?

Tierra Whack: I was [doing] poetry and rap since I was nine [or] ten and then [at] fourteen was when I really really rapped though and then like I got my first little kinda opportunities when I was 16.

You used to go by a different name?

Yeah, T-Dizzle, Dizzle Dizz. I was just poppin’ in the hood, niggas love me and they called me Dizzle so I was hyped to get a name from the hood.

Why the change to Tierra Whack?

That’s my real name; on my birth certificate and social security card too. Most people think it’s some type of name I made up. In school my teachers called me Miss Whack. You would’ve thought I was the teacher. It’s just like I’m 22 now, so [it’s] time for a change. I just wanted to be able to say it’s time for me to get on my grind seriously.

You felt renewed.

Yes exactly!

I read that you are a huge fan of horror. What kind of movies are you into or at least into right now?

Yes I love to see people get killed, not people I know though. My favorite movie that I’ve just seen is called The Eyes of My Mother. It’s actually on Netflix. First of all, it’s in black and white and I hate black and white. I love color so it was crazy for me to actually just sit through it. And then most of it wasn’t in English, so [there were] subtitles [but] I just like to read. And you know when you put the subtitles on and everything and you’re getting into it and it’s like you’re not even reading any more, it’s like you actually know what they’re saying, it’s crazy.

What kind of art are you into right now?

Just like everything. It’s never one thing. I’m happy then I’m kinda like I hate everything then I’m like, “let’s just keep going and see what we get.” I have this motto: I opened the book let’s see what we get and it’s just like I’m in chapter one. It’s a new year. I just dropped a video a few months ago, the project is basically where I want it to be. You know, I’m all over the place but still like let’s move. That’s where we’re going. Let’s push!

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How does that play into your music and presentation? Your videos are not gory but in a way kind of terrifying.

See everybody’s saying that but I don’t really see that. I wanted it to be crazier than that but [it’s] the littlest things. Like I guess there was some blood in there [and] there was a roach. I don’t know, I watch a lot of films and that’s just the shit that really gets me going; the nasty shit. The shit thats like “ugh!”. [With] “Mumbo Jumbo” I wanted to take it to the next level [and] I did a good job but at the same time there’s so much more I could have done. I’m like my worst critic.

Do you do your own production? Because a lot of your songs, the beat always has a sound that is made by your voice whether it be a little melody or boop or hum.

I just sit there and tell them what buttons to press. [laughs] But wow I never thought of that. That’s so crazy that’s like the first time I’m hearing it. Thank you. I promise everything is just random. It’s just whatever I feel and then you feel it.

How do you feel about being a rapper now? Going into 2018 and as a creator, how do you feel about the space and your ability to operate in it?

I know there’s a trend going on, and I’m not following it at all. So like of course everybody’s looking at me like, “What the hell is she doing? Why is she not doing what we’re doing?”, and it’s like ‘uhhh i dont wanna do it!’ Something new [is] what I try to bring to the table. I have the shortest attention span in the fucking world. I get so bored so easily, so why would I jump in and do whatever everyone else is doing? I’m just having fun; that’s the biggest thing: having fun.

Has it been hard exposing yourself and your art to critique?

Yeah it’s like, “What the fuck I wasn’t even thinking that!” I just like to see people debate and argue and I’m like “what?!” Just to hear other people’s thoughts is so crazy. I had this one idea and I didnt think of it any other way. Then everyone else is like, “Well she meant this,” and they’re telling me what I meant and I’m just like okay, thats how you feel. But you know that’s what music and art is for: to create some kind of dialogue.

Do you internalize it at all or ignore it all together?

No I love it! It’s funny because then I’m learning. I can see something one way and then you have somebody come in and say well, it could be taken as this and I’ve never even thought of that. It kind of just expands my mind [for the] next thing I do.

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Some people took “Mumbo Jumbo” as a song targeted at mumble rap. How do you respond to people who politicize your work? I feel like black women are not allowed to make art without it being political.

Exactly and yo, it’s crazy I’m not a deep person at all. Im laughing most of the time; at the pain, at the actual jokes. I’m laughing at everything. So it’s whatever with me. I did what I did and whoever says what they wanna say is fine with me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

What does the new project sound like and when do you plan on releasing it?

It’s so many sounds, I can’t even tell you. Like I said I’m just so experimental and I’m always trying new shit. There’s gonna be some shit that you really really really don’t expect and some other shit that’s just cool, but I’m touching on everything and I don’t have a date yet. I never ever have a date for anything. I hate dates. Like literally I hate dates. It’s just a feeling. I’m just following what I feel, you feel?

Do you like collaborating or do you prefer working alone? Are there any artists that you want to work with or sit down with, even just to exchange ideas?

[coughs] Solange. Right now I’m really a loner. I’ve been alone for like a while though. How can I say this? I’ve created my own world and I’m staying in it. [There’s] nothing that’s really inspiring me as far as like things and people around me. I’m looking far out and [those] people are hard to get– the people that are inspiring me. So that’s why I’m tryina get on their level and then hopefully we could be able to work one day.

I often like to describe you by saying “she’s a real weirdo” and people often get offended by the word weirdo. I don’t know why…

That’s so great. Yeah I don’t know why either. When I was younger and in school kids would always be like “you’re weird” in a bad way, and it was kinda like uh?? It was actually weird to me that they were calling me weird cuz everything that I was on was normal to me so it was like what the fuck do you mean nigga, you’re weird. But then eventually it was like, ok they’re only saying that to [say] “only you could do that I could never do that,” so you just accept it.

Yea weird is like category people generally put you in when you make them uncomfortable. If your music doesn’t make sense to them or if you look like you’re having too much fun, people are like you’re a weirdo. So when people are like what do you mean she’s a weirdo. I’m like a weirdo: a person who genuinely seeks out oddities that are of interest to them and holds their interests only to that. I think in your music that’s what comes across. You feel like someone who takes energy from things around you so it makes sense that you would be like “oh everybody’s on Tuesday but I’m on Thursday right now.”

Yeah, wow that’s exactly me. That’s totally me.

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