ACL Live Review: Tierra Whack

Philly rapper and ascending goddess reopens Whack World

Tierra Whack makes rapping look effortless. She probably practiced saying supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as a child based on her ability to fit messages into tight spaces.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Philadelphia’s rap queen, 24, returned to Austin after buzzing performances in March at SXSW, including a noted appearance at Cheer Up Charlies. Whack had been scheduled to take over the T-Mobile stage for 45-minutes mid-afternoon Saturday, but a late start limited her set to just over half an hour.

It’s hard to compare Tierra Whack to anyone. In terms of ability to flow and aesthetic, Missy Elliott comes to mind. Hype continues to build for the MC whose 2018 debut Whack World made waves as a 15-song, 15-minute visual album.

Fellow Philly royalty Meek Mill heralded Whack as “the best female rapper in the world” in July and teenage sensation Billie Eilish hailed her as a “god” during a conversation with NPR at ACL Fest’s new podcast stage Bonus Tracks. Though the Grammy-nominated rapper failed to live up to her lofty billing, she put up an earnest fight in sweltering conditions. In the spirit of Whack World’s nightmarish, cinematic visuals, various colored depictions of Tierra Whack’s rotating head served as a stage backdrop.

The Interscope Records signee seemed to not quite reach her highest gears during cuts from 2019’s “Whack History Month” singles series. A brief entry into the crowd during opener “Only Child” led to her joking about a hurt knee, yet she soldiered on during a scorching Texas afternoon. She regained her footing (and crowd) during the more melodic cuts from Whack World.

“Not your average girl,” the crowd sang in unison during a beat cut.

Whack capped off the first weekend of her Austin return with hand delivery of the Nikes off her feet to a young man celebrating his birthday.


“Only Child”
“Black Nails”
“Bugs Life”
“Flea Market”
“Cable Guy”
“4 Wings”
“Pet Cemetery”
“Fuck Off”
“Pretty Ugly”
“Hungry Hippo”

Tierra Whack

Saturday, Oct. 5, 3:15pm, T-Mobile stage

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Tierra Whack
SXSW Music Review: Rico Nasty/Tierra Whack/Dreezy
SXSW Music Review: Rico Nasty/Tierra Whack/Dreezy
Three of the many women in hip-hop clawing new self-expression

Alejandra Ramirez, March 15, 2019

More by Derek Udensi
ACL Live Review: Pnthn
San Marcos collective puts on a cafeteria cypher

Oct. 14, 2019

ACL Live Review: Denzel Curry
Denzel Curry
South Floridian MC booms and quakes and commands

Oct. 13, 2019


Tierra Whack, ACL Fest 2019, Missy Elliott, Billie Eilish

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle