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Tierra Whack’s Hot 97 freestyle was filled with Philly love

Tierra Whack on Hot 97 | still from video

DJ Funkmaster Flex’s show on NYC station Hot 97 is something of a proving grounds for rappers to showcase their skills on the mic, those on the rise and established names alike. Last Wednesday, Philly MC Tierra Whack dropped by Funk Flex’s studio to take part in his freestyle series, and over two minutes of the beat from Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where I Can See,” she was fierce, funny and filled with Philly love. Continue reading →

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From Dizzle Dizz to Whack World: A beginner’s guide to Tierra Whack

Tierra Whack in her Dizzle Dizz days | still from video

When her stunning 15-minute visual album Whack World was released earlier this year, the world took notice of Tierra Whack. The Philly-born 20 something effortlessly blends traditional songwriting chops with Eminem’s syllable-bending technical prowess and Missy Elliot’s bizarre surrealist aesthetic. Despite what some may think, Tierra did not appear out of nowhere. Since 2012, she had been making a name and building her skills in Philly’s underground rap scene. We’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to one of the music world’s brightest creative lights. Continue reading →

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Bri Steves and Tierra Whack will be taking on Power 99’s Peace On The Streets at Festival Pier.

Bri Steves | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Bri Steves has had a pretty eventful year, between being signed with Atlantic Records home to Cardi B, Bruno Mars, The War on Drugs and more — and releasing her debut track “Jealousy” along with a music video filmed right in our backyard. Steves returns to the Philly stage tomorrow, July 26, to perform at Power 99‘s Peace On The Streets concert series at Festival Pier with Georgia’s TK Kravitz, Jamaican-born emcee Hoodcelebrityy, and rising star Tierra Whack.

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Kilamanzego chops up a Tierra Whack favorite on her new single “red light green light.”

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

If you’ve ever caught Philly rapper Tierra Whack in concert, you probably walked away with the hook to “Toe Jam” rooted in your noggin; “CRACK KILLS IF IT DON’T GETCHA WHACK WILL.” The song had the same effect on Philadelphia soundscaper and beatmaker Kilamanzego, who chopped up the hook and folded it into her latest musical collage, “red light green light.” Continue reading →

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M.I.A., Busta Rhymes, Tierra Whack and more will join Lauryn Hill at Festival Pier next month

Busta Rhymes | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // M.I.A. | still from video // Tierra Whack | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When iconic singer/rapper Ms. Lauryn Hill announced her upcoming tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, it seemed too good to be true. She’ll be playing the classic album in full, but if that isn’t reason enough to attend, we now know the opening acts for the Philly stop on the tour, happening at Festival Pier on July 13.

Two well-loved and long-running rappers are lined up for the show — Busta Rhymes, who recently appeared at the Firefly Music Festival for the second consecutive year, and M.I.A., whose last album was 2016’s AIM. Also in the mix is reggae artist Jo Mersa Marley (who just happens to be the grandson of Bob Marley). But perhaps the most exciting part of this announcement is the addition of a local act — Philly-based hip hop artist Tierra Whack. She released a new visual album, Whack World, last month, and recently appeared at Roots Picnic and Firefly. Continue reading →

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Take a trip through Tierra Whack’s surreal visual album Whack World

Tierra Whack | still from video

On Wednesday, Philly hip-hop artist Tierra Whack introduced her surreal visual album, Whack World. Whack combines the attitude of Missy Elliot with the sultry synth beats of Blood Orange, but ultimately curates a unique persona that separates her from predecessors.

The album is a compact fifteen minute set, every song running a minute each. In it, Whack guides the viewer through the carnivalesque spheres of her universe. The cartoonish settings morph into a nail salon, veterinarian office, Chinese takeout joint, pet cemetery, and a living room trashed with the remnants of a child’s birthday party. With each changing scenario, Whack shifts through moods with correlating colors and outfits to match. Continue reading →

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Firefly announces 2018 daily lineup; adds more artists incl. Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack

firefly
Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Firefly Music Festival has announced its daily lineup for this year’s festival, annually hosted at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware. The inaugural festival took place in 2012 as a 3-day festival and has continuously grown with each passing year, creating one of the biggest summer festivals on the East Coast. From the campgrounds to the festival’s main stage, Firefly is a highlight of the summer for many music fans. Continue reading →

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Philly’s Orion Sun shines on NPR Music’s Slingshot Artist To Watch list

Orion Sun at Made In America 2018 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

In fall 2017 NPR Music and VuHaus‘ public radio network announced Slingshot, a collective effort of public music stations to elevate emerging artists they’ve discovered and want to share with the world. Since then many of the artists it showcased have become household names in radio and streaming playlists across the country and beyond; Tash Sultana, Ruston Kelly, Phoebe Bridgers, Tierra Whack, Dermot Kennedy, J.S. Ondara to name a few.

Today, NPR Music has released a list of 20 Slingshot Artists To Watch for 2019 – including Philly singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Orion Sun. WXPN’s John Vettese speaks to why she deserves a spot on the list: Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Senia Lopez’s best album artwork of 2018

from left, Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, Found Wild’s self-titled, Travis Scott’s Astroworld

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key photographer  Senia Lopez breaks down some of the best album covers of the year.

I used to intern for The Key as a photographer over the summer. It was an incredible time to build my music portfolio and to learn so much more about music (especially local artists). When the time came for Year-End Mania I knew I wanted to be involved, but wanted to leave the music reporting to the professionals at The Key. I wanted to talk about something more in my wheelhouse, visual art. I wanted to talk about some the best album covers of the year.

When approaching this list, I thought about what covers made the viewer stop and look at the art longer, which covers made the viewer more interested in hearing the music, and images that were unique or impressive as just visual art pieces alone. This list has nothing to do with the content of the music (though some of these albums did make my top list this year). I tried to be as unbiased as possible, but I cannot help but be drawn to more photographic works. Continue reading →