So this is hip-hop now, and all the croaking codgers out there clinging to a Golden Age of Hip-Hop ideal should just shut the fuck up and swallow it.
"It" is essentially this: repetitive vocal cadence over a spartan production featuring a booming low end and ticky tacky synthesized hi-hat patterns. That's precisely what Tierra Whack brings to the table with her song "Unemployed."
Despite the track's lack of distinction, Whack, born in Philadelphia and raised there and in Atlanta, Georgia, has achieved a healthy degree of success thus far: she's toured with Lauryn Hill and Flying Lotus, and her 2018 debut album, Whack World, was given an A- by none other than noted music critic and 76-year-old, Robert Christgau.
The most compelling thing about Tierra Whack, which may have contributed a good deal to her success, is the visual panache brought to bear on her videos. The entirety of Whack World, in fact, was strung together for one 15-minute-long, bizarre and compelling trip down the rabbit hole of Whack's mind. It's an odd pairing, her minimalistic music with the ornate, quirky and bespoke (think Michel Gondry, The Brother Quay, Tim Burton) quality of the visual content; the two are complementary, rather than simpatico.
So goes, too, for "Unemployed," which puts Whack in the role of a prep cook, ready to slice into a mountain of russet potatoes. Things get weird quick, though, when one of the potatoes comes alive, its tiny eyes pleading silently not to be cut into cubes by the white-clad Whack. Later, the hip-hopper is seen serving the food she's presumably been preparing on her chef block to…a giant, ravenous and demanding potato, who sits at a large banquet table throwing food into its wrinkled beige mouth.
Give points to Whack for spearheading the creation of her own deeply strange world, far from banal quotidian realities. Still, it'd be even better if the music itself held its own.
[youtube https://youtu.be/Q2MN3ObF9P8 caption="Tierra Whack \u2013 Unemployed [EDITED]" photo_credit_src="https://youtu.be/Q2MN3ObF9P8" photo_credit="youtu.be" expand=1] Tierra Whack – Unemployed [EDITED] youtu.be
Matt Fink lives and works in Brooklyn. Go to organgrind.com for more of his work.
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