Last year, Philly rapper and singer Tierra Whack made her name with Whack World, a ridiculously smart piece of work. Whack World was an album, or an EP, or a long-form music video, and it doesn’t really matter which format it fits into. Whack came up with 15 songs in 15 minutes, then set all those minute-long songs to vivid and imaginative music videos. The degree of difficulty was high, and she pulled it off. And now Whack is trying to do something that might be even harder: Succeeding in a slightly more conventional way.
In the past few weeks, Whack has released two new songs, “Only Child” and “CLONES,” both of which are full-length pop singles. And last night, she served as musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, making what I’m pretty sure was her late-night debut. But even if that whole late-night performance format is pretty regimented, Whack found ways to make it her own.
On Kimmel, Whack performed “Only Child” in front of giant LCD screens that made the stage look like a haunted playground. She also pushed a baby carriage that held a giant papier-mâché monster baby. And she wore a bright red two-piece pantsuit covered in cartoon monsters. When the novelty of those touches wore off, her song and her natural charisma were still more than enough to carry her. And as an online bonus, she also ran through the minute-long Whack World favorite “Hungry Hippo.” Watch both performances below.
“Only Child” is out now on the streaming services.