Tierra Whack on Her Most Personal Project YetFor our Possibility issue, the rapper discusses her new album and shares songs that embody the idea of starting anew.

“Every time I go to the studio, I’m never doing the same thing,” says Tierra Whack. “It’s always new. I’m always experimenting.”

Since exploding onto the scene in 2018 with Whack World, an eccentric audiovisual EP that stretched the limits of traditional hip-hop, the 28-year-old rapper has opened for Lauryn Hill and worked with a long line of culture-making giants, like Beyoncé and Alicia Keys. But Whack, who got her start battle rapping in Philadelphia, has been making moves of her own. “When I saw all the success from Whack World, I was like, ‘Wow—but this ain’t nothing yet,’” she says.

Her recently released follow-up, World Wide Whack, showcases her seemingly boundless ability to manipulate the notion of genre, venturing into pop and R&B. This musical malleability is instinctive to Whack, who explains, “Most people are like, ‘Oh, you got to stick to one thing.’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, that just doesn’t feel right.’”

“I’m literally a human. I think people forget once they see me on TV and big stages.”

She also confronts the nature of celebrity through the introduction of a clownlike alter ego. “They put on a mask and dress up, and they’re happy,” says Whack. “Regardless of what we’re going through, that’s what we’re expected to do.” Like clowns, she feels the pressure as a public figure to put on her best face, even when doing so is at odds with how she actually feels inside. It’s a contradiction that she explores throughout World Wide Whack. In particular, tracks like “Difficult” and “27 Club” draw attention to personal struggles with depression and anxiety. “I’m literally a human,” Whack says. “I think people forget once they see me on TV and big stages.”

For this issue, Whack curated a playlist centered on the theme of possibility, including songs that embody the idea of starting anew—among them, Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” Talib Kweli’s “Get By,” and Lihtz’s “Serenity.” Of the last song, Whack explains, “It just gives me hope when I hear it.”

Listen to Tierra’s playlist exclusively on Apple Music.

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As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.