"I like creepy shit," Tierra Whack says. "Shit that’s gonna make you ask why and look at what everyone is doing, asking why?"
First emerging under the name Dizzle Dizz as a 16-year-old back in 2011, she made a name for herself with impressive rapid-fire freestyles in front of guys like ASAP Rocky and Meek Mill. Finding her voice as an artist, she recently changed her name to Tierra Whack and started making the most creative, unique music of her career.
The latest, "Mumbo Jumbo," plays out like a twisted reflection of mumble rap and current hip-hop trends—even if she insists that wasn't her original intention.
"When I’m recording, I usually just mumble and hum a melody and then fill the words in as I go," Whack says of the creative process that sparked the song. "This time I just decided not to. It felt so good to me and my engineer, so we stuck with it. It actually had nothing to do with mumble rap initially, the timing was just right."
Accompanied by an eerie video, the song throws you for a loop. You can almost understand what she's saying. And it sounds great. But it's all mumbo jumbo at the same time.
"People always say people from my generation (mumble rappers) can’t rap and it’s killing hip-hop," she explains. "Well I can rap, but mumble rap isn’t about that. It’s about a feeling. It makes you feel good."
Taking advantage of her background as a vocal major in art school and time spent in a church choir, her sound is veering in a more melodic direction than her earlier work—but the sharp lyrics and flow that she had as a teenager remains. "I’ve learned to trust myself," she says. "I went from a being a rapper to an artist."
Watch the video for "Mumbo Jumbo" above and continue for our full interview with Tierra Whack.
You started your career as a teenager under the name Dizzle Dizz, right? Why did you decide to change your name?
T-Dizzle aka (Dizzle Dizz) was a nickname I was given by my friends from Philly in the neighborhood I grew up in. I was like 15 when that happened just freestyling anywhere there was a crowd. I decided I wanted to use my real name “Tierra Whack” when I decided I wanted to make music my career.
I remember first coming across you when you did radio freestyles as a 16-year-old. What was it like starting your career so young?
When I was 16, I was rapping just to rap. I was so young that I got distracted easily and being so young I had people discouraging me about my ideas. Now you can’t do that to me. I fight for whatever I believe in! I’ve learned to trust myself. I went from a being a rapper to an artist.
Some of your newer songs are more melodic than your early rap-focused stuff. Why did you decide to head in a more melodic direction?
I’m definitely working on finding a balance! Sometimes I don’t feel like rapping. It’s too easy for me. I actually started singing before I started rapping, most people don’t know that. I was in a church choir and went to an arts school as a vocal major. So if you pass me the AUX, I’m bumping ‘90s R&B!
Where did the idea for "Mumbo Jumbo" come from? What kind of point were you trying to make about 'mumble rap'?
When I’m recording, I usually just mumble and hum a melody and then fill the words in as I go. This time I just decided not to. It felt so good to me and my engineer, so we stuck with it. It actually had nothing to do with mumble rap initially, the timing was just right. People always say people from my generation (mumble rappers) can’t rap and it’s killing hip-hop. Well I can rap, but mumble rap isn’t about that. It’s about a feeling. It makes you feel good.
The music video is really creative. How did you guys come up with the concept for that?
I want people to interpret it themselves just like art, so I can’t give you my full breakdown of the concept. But the same week I recorded this song I got my tooth pulled and that’s how I got the idea of the dentist. I like creepy shit, shit that’s gonna make you ask why and look at what everyone is doing, asking why? Almost everybody has been to the dentist and nobody enjoys that pain so I knew it would be relatable.
This video will probably serve as the introduction to you for a lot of people. Is there anything else you would like new fans to know about you?
I’m doing everything I want to do, everything you see me put out is me! I’m just a single black mother following my dreams (these rap dudes are my kids)!