- Gov't Name: Tierra Whack
- Age: 23
- Reppin': Philadelphia
- Twitter: @TierraWhack
- Instagram: @TierraWhack
- Notable Releases: Singles: “Fruit Salad,” “Hungry Hippo,” “Mumbo Jumbo,” “Only Child,” “Toe Jam,” “Unemployed”; Project: Whack World; Guest Appearances: Flying Lotus’ “Yellow Belly”
- Label: Interscope Records
- Currently Working On: Upcoming project coming soon.
- Surprised About Who Is Missing: “As long as there were other girls, that’s all I cared about.”
- Influenced by: “OutKast, DMX, Kelis, Lauryn Hill, Busta [Rhymes], Musiq Soulchild, Floetry. There’s so many people. They’re all literal outcasts—they were different. They wore crazy colors and vibrant patterns and when everybody was going one way, they were going the other way. They just stuck out like a sore thumb. That’s what catches my eye.”
- As a Freshman in High School: “I was always pretty popular, just cool with everybody. That comes out in the music that I do, because growing up I moved around a lot. I jumped around to different schools so I always had to adapt—remain me but pull from different avenues. I was a vocal major at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. [Also] doing freestyles on YouTube.”
TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: It’s just cool to see where it goes from here. We were looking at some of the other [Freshman] covers. It’s cool to see Wiz [Khalifa], [he] had a short cut with the little blond [patch] and now he got the blond dreads. [J.] Cole, too. Little funny things that are cool to se“Throughout the years, we all look forward to the [Freshman] covers. This is the first year where I’ve seen more than one female. [Editor’s note: XXL featured DeJ Loaf and Tink on the 2015 XXL Freshman Class cover.] I didn’t want to be the only girl. We made history this year [with] three. I just want it to keep going—four, five, six, then all females. That would be fire! That’s the only thing I can think about.
I want everybody to win and feel good and be appreciated. I’m happy that I made it, but I’m thinking, Yo, we really did some cool-ass shit. Me, Meg[an Thee Stallion], Rico [Nasty], we’re setting this shit up for all of the other girls in the world that want to do this shit. And we’re all cool with each other.
I was excited [to find out I’m a Freshman], but I don’t believe or get hyped until it’s actually happening. I’m always pretty chill. I was humbled. I hope it’s a good picture. I was making a lot of crazy-ass faces. It’s a magazine cover—you know, any picture you take is history.
It’s funny, for so long I hated my last name. I remember being called T. Dizzle and Dizzle. I was so young, just freestyling and rapping. I was like, I have to separate this because I wanna be a new version of me—the best me. When I was going for the change from Dizzle Dizz, I was thinking about all these names—Hillary Hype, something with Tokyo. I was like, Nothing feels right. I wanted people to take me serious. I didn’t want a rinky-dink rap name. I was like, Why don’t I just use my real name? It just clicked. I don’t want any gimmicks. The fact that people think that Whack is a gimmick is so crazy.
I look at little things like that: how far people came and how many songs you knew from that artist back then and how many songs you know from them now, a whole catalog. That’s how people will look at me.”
TIERRA WHACK’S 2019 XXL FRESHMAN INTERVIEW
When it comes to Tierra Whack's sound and aesthetic, fans have learned to expect the unexpected. The Philadelphia native has a creative quality that is one of one, which reflects in every aspect of her artistry, from music videos to music. So it should be no surprise that her pitch to become a 2019 XXL Freshman—in which she stares into a camera while chomping on potato chips—was unconventional. Let her tell it, she just follows her gut.
"We did a little pitch but I was like, 'This doesn't feel right,'" the 23-year-old artist tells XXL, recalling a canned take. "When I ate the chips, that felt right. So, I was like, 'OK, that's what we're going with.'"
Following her artistic intuition has helped the artist formerly known as Dizzle Dizz to become one of the most fascinating and eccentric rising artists in any musical genre, making her a shoe-in for XXL's Freshman franchise. After making some noise on YouTube with her quip-heavy freestyles, she grabbed everyone's attention in 2017 with the far-out, dystopian visual for "Mumbo Jumbo," which earned a Grammy nomination.
By 2018, Tierra Whack seemed fully formed, particularly with the release of Whack World, a collection of 15 song snippets, each one-minute in length, delivered with colorful and creative clips to accompany each. It's dubbed "a visual and auditory project" on its accompanying artwork, but in retrospect, Tierra considers it something closer to a "demo" showcasing her vision, abilities and potpourri of styles.
"When somebody's trying to put you onto a new artist, nobody feels like sitting through a three- [or] four-minute song," she says. "I did what I had to do in 60 seconds to prove that people should listen to me... It was just something new, something fresh. It's different, innovative. I think everybody wanted and needed something new, so they appreciate it."
Tierra says the project has changed her life ("The phone started ringing when I dropped Whack World"), and her selection as a 2019 XXL Freshman is sure to similarly boost her stock.
"Me making [the 2019 XXL Freshman Class] is so important because it lets me know that I am making some noise," Tierra shares. "It's just cool to just be recognized. There's still so many people that I've had for years and years down the line who wanted this for me every year. For me to finally get it is really cool."
Tierra Whack's Freshman induction is just another feather in her kaleidoscopic cap. She started 2019 strong with a string of loosies in celebration of her own #WhackHistoryMonth, landed a guest feature on Flying Lotus' Flamagra and has been tapped to perform at Afropunk in Brooklyn, Lollapalooza in Chicago and Made in America in her hometown of Philadelphia. "Philly gives me that raw edge," she says. "We just do us."
Watch Tierra Whack do her in the XXL Freshman profile interview above.
See Photos of Tierra Whack Behind the Scenes at the 2019 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot
Tierra Whack’s ABCs
There's nothing basic about Tierra Whack's music. Listening to Whack World tracks like "Silly Sam" and "Fruit Salad" showcases her fun, colorful, childlike imagination. "Dr. Seuss" is named for the legendary children's author who strongly influenced Tierra when she was just a tyke. And "Cable Guy" features some amusing alphabet play: "It goes like ABC (All Boys Cry)/MTV (Men Touch Vaginas)/BET (Bitches Eat Tacos)."
Considering all of the above, it was only right that Tierra take part in XXL's word-association series ABCs during the 2019 XXL Freshman photo shoot.
Things start off innocent enough—A for "apple," B for "boy"—before Ms. Whack gets vulgar: C for "chlamydia," D for "dick" and E for "eat my ass." Then she starts trolling: I for "I don't want to do this anymore" and J for "Just kidding!"
She shouts out Migos frontman Quavo once she lands on the letter Q and takes some creative liberty with the letter R, saying, "Aren't you glad I didn't say banana," a nod to an old knock-knock joke. Tierra closes the clip by catching some Zzzs—appropriate after the long production that is XXL Freshman.
Tierra Whack made her presence felt during the 2019 XXL Freshman shoot. While she didn't drop her own solo freestyle, her verse during the cypher is a show-stopper and her mock strangling of YBN Cordae helps to make the cover shot an instant classic.
Watch Tierra Whack's ABCs in the video above.
TIERRA WHACK, COMETHAZINE AND RODDY RICCH'S 2019 XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER
Charisma, personality, intriguing backstory and interesting antics aside, being able to rap is still an integral part of being rapper. Go figure. Year in and year out, the cypher has been the space where newly-touted XXL Freshmen make their case with bars, alongside their fellow classmates. The cypher with 2019 XXL Freshmen Comethazine, Tierra Whack and Roddy Ricch features three rappers from three different parts of the map putting on for their cities with three distinct styles.
East St. Louis, Ill. representative Comethazine goes first and takes a dark tenor over the looped D-Fresh-produced instrumental being spun by this year’s maestro, DJ Scheme.
“Claim he gon’ get me, claim he gon’ rush me/We outside your spot now, nigga, time to get ugly,” Co menacingly spits. “Have him shitting in his pants, nigga, pass him a Huggy/Choppa bullets make him dance, look, he hitting his Dougie/Catch him lackin,' do your thing, then clean up the spot/’Cause who gon’ leave some evidence?/Nigga, I’m not/I paid $100 for the Forces, now it’s blood on the bottom/Fittin’ to hit the Foot Locker, bitch, I’m not fittin’ to wash ’em.”
Next, we take it the West, where California’s Roddy Ricch dispenses a smooth-tongued contribution to the cypher where he reps his Compton trenches and toasts to the good life.
“Fuck all that talkin', let's do it/I keep me a ruler/Bitch, I grew up with the shooters,” Roddy rhymes. “Slidin’ in the back of the rack with the roof up/I got all white diamonds, Ku Klux/My bitch be naggin’ too much/Make it rain in Magic too much/I don’t wear my Patek too much/I be really, really, really getting pissed off/Wear my Fendi evil eye, my shirt looked pissed off/Yeah, I got expensive habits/Ace of Spades when I’m thirsty/Plug let me get it dirt cheap/We gon’ pull up to the club 30 deep.”
Tierra Whack, who was recently named the best female rapper on the planet by Meek Mill, pulls an XXXTentacion move and decides to go a cappella to really show off and accentuate her wordplay. Punctuating her rhymes with her free hand, the Philly native blacks out, twisting words together effortlessly.
“The queen of my city, I prove it in this freestyle (Philly)/Mean-mugging all your cheap smiles/You a beach chair, you fold, I’ma beach towel,” she spits. “The way I come around, everybody remain the same/You know my name/With a dollar and a dream I change the game/Wait, I beach towel folds too/I beat your ass if you run up on my crew/Like a child at the zoo or a kid a the beach/I keep talking ’bout the beach, but I’m trying to dig deep in the sand/I leave my eyes open when I sleep, I’m a man/W-O at the beginning/Bumping John Lennon in my all white linen suit getting loose.”
Watch Comethazine, Tierra Whack and Roddy Ricch's 2019 XXL Freshman cypher above.
TIERRA WHACK, COMETHAZINE AND RODDY RICCH'S 2019 XXL FRESHMAN ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW
For the XXL Freshmen, it’s all about capitalizing on the moment of being crowned a leader of the new school. Some rise to the occasion and catapult themselves into superstardom, while others aren't as successful years down the line and fall to the wayside. Comethazine, Tierra Whack and Roddy Ricch realize their time is now.
After sharing the stage together for their 2019 XXL Freshman cypher, the trio sits down to discuss the seriousness of the situation of landing a spot on the 2019 XXL Freshman cover.
“Growing up, [becoming a Freshman] is definitely one of those things where I’m like, Yo, I know my time is gonna come,” Grammy-nominated Philly MC Tierra Whack states. “I didn’t say 2017, 2016, I was just like, Whenever they choose me, that’s when my time is. That’s what I believe. I was like, Yo, I gotta make it one year. It’s gonna happen. And it happened, so it’s good.”
Alamo Records artist Comethazine, who hails from East St. Louis, Ill., was also motivated to get his day in the sun. His Bawskee mixtape series has his name ringing bells and fan base growing stronger by the day.
“[Making the cover is] something I seen and wanted to do, ’cause I knew that's what it would take to be where I wanted to be,” he says. “People that was here succeeded at what they did in rap.”
The honor is definitely not overlooked by Roddy Ricch, who went from chasing paper on the streets of Compton to working with the likes of Post Malone and Nipsey Hussle in a matter of a few years.
“I’m the first nigga out my projects to even be on a magazine,” he reveals. “I was sitting on the boulevard every day. For them to see me there, and to still be able to pull up or be on magazines, do all this type of stuff, it’s surreal. But it’s motivation. [It’s] something that a lot of the younger guys where I’m from can look up to.”
Hustle and motivate.
Watch Comethazine, Tierra Whack and Roddy Ricch’s 2019 XXL Freshman roundtable interview above..