Tierra Whack – ‘Rap?’ EP review: rapper experiments with her distinctive style

After three years of singles and knockout featured verses, the Philly artist returns with a short body of work that hints at greatness to come

The world hasn’t had a project from Tierra Whack since 2018’s 15-minute, 15-track long debut album ‘Whack World’. In between then and now, we’ve heard the Philly native lay down immaculate verses for the likes of Lil Yachty on ‘Lil Boat 3’ and WILLOW on ‘lately i feel EVERYTHING’, as well as her own singles.

‘Stand Up’, the opener to this comeback EP, rolls in with dystopian bass drums, setting the unapologetic tone. She’s known for releasing endless gold, and Tierra’s first lyrics back don’t disappoint: “Will the real n**** please stand / And all the fake sit down? / Hold your head, hold your crown”. It’s a positive and affirmative hook – but, unfortunately, it all gets a little samey as the song goes on. Using what in the early 2010s was called the ‘mumble’ flow – where you accent the end of every lyric with an ad-lib; in this case, ‘Yeah!’ – Tierra Whack doesn’t tap into the melodic side of that era, instead of allowing her lyrics to be exposed in a slow and monotonous way. It’s an innovative approach, but gets super trying after a minute.

However, the EP does improve with the final two tracks, ‘Meagan Good’ and ‘Millions’, both in lyrical content and production. ‘Meagan Good’s verses tell the story of Tierra outgrowing a relationship (it’s unclear if it’s romantic or platonic) and reaching the limelight while the other party didn’t advance in rap. It’s a beautiful insight into Tierra Whack’s drive, as she refuses to fall into the survivor’s guilt that some can become prey to after succeeding and leaving the past behind. ‘Millions’ doesn’t tap into the same level of insight or emotion, but boasts a great, choppy flow that gets your head-bopping for its three-minute run time.

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‘Rap?’ – with that notable punctuation – is the perfect title for this EP since, for the first time, it may leave listeners questioning the exact nature of Tierra’s undeniable rap skills. She’s definitely a formidable artist and has resounding musicality, as shown in the last two songs, but there’s also a slightly throwaway quality on display here, as if she’s keeping us tied over for the next release.

We haven’t had a project from Tierra Whack in three years, and it’s hard not to expect a bit more from her. But let’s hope that she isn’t quitting music, as she suggested earlier in the year, and that this is just the prequel to a stunning second album.

Details


Release date: December 3rd
Record label: Interscope music

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