Philadelphia rapper Tierra Whack stormed hip-hop earlier this year with her inventive and already influential Whack World, a 15-minute album delivered by way of one-minute Instagram videos and wonderfully jarring pivots. Though Whack World is without question a stroke of genius, as Whack revealed to Billboard, the album was born out of frustration.
“Basically, I was just in the studio, always recording, always creating, and I had all these songs, and none of the songs sounded the same,” she said. “Like, I couldn’t find a pattern. So I was like, ‘Damn, how do I put a project together?’
“I was driving myself crazy, and then my engineer—who’s working closely with me—was like, ‘We got to find a way, ‘cause you’re so fucking moody, and doing something different every ten fucking seconds, or changing your mind up, or whatever.’ So we looked at Instagram, and Instagram is 60 seconds [max for a video]. We were like, ‘Yo, let’s do a song that’s a collection of 60 seconds, and just rock out.’ So I started to record 60-second songs, and just shut it off at sixty seconds.”
Sometimes the best way to spark your creative energy is to make yourself uncomfortable. In Tierra Whack’s case, limiting herself to a single minute allowed her to, ironically, make an expansive and traversing record. Her engineer was smart enough to tap into and help Whack expand upon her artistic restlessness, as opposed to letting her wallow in her frustration.
Any artist will tell you that when facing a creative wall, the best thing to do is reset in whatever form a reset works best for you. Shocking yourself into creating isn’t always the cure-all to a creative block, but in the case of Tierra Whack, it certainly helped. As she detailed, the 60-second restriction gave her a new sense of creative freedom, and as a result, Whack World plays as one of the best albums of the year.
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