Music Quickspins


The American rapper and singer-songwriter released her second full-length music project on March 15, resuming her unique witty touch in the music industry.

Philly-based rapper and singer-songwriter Tierra Whack blessed us with a significant number of singles since 2019 but finally dropped her album WORLD WIDE WHACK on March 15. 

Whack’s previous full-length music release dates back to 2018 with a similar title called Whack World consisting of 15 songs, with each track being exactly one minute long, resulting in a witty and calculated 15-minute project. The artist’s initial breakthrough was through her 2017 track “MUMBO JUMBO,” which brought new occurrences to the term “mumble rap” and was Grammy-nominated for its music video. 

With a runtime of 37 minutes, Whack presents 15 new tracks to the public with a variety of lengths per song, as opposed to her debut project which was more calculated in that regard. At first listen, each song can stand on its own but the album maintains a cohesive blend track after track. The sequencing of the songs provides a smooth and seamless listening experience from slower more pensive tracks to more energetic sounds, which is exactly how the transition from the very first song “MOOD SWINGS” to “MS BEHAVE” plays out.  

One of the first facets of this new era of Whack that I discovered was the “CHANEL PIT” music video. Her sound can easily go from almost childish-sounding instruments and playful hi-hats to harsher more aggressive 808’s and kicks. “CHANEL PIT” perfectly embraces the contrast and sides of her production style while correspondingly emasculating all the directions this album’s production gravitates toward. Its music video is also pure Whack. We see her standing still while going through a car wash and being hit with red cleaning curtains that match her hair, delivering a striking and stimulating visual experience as usual. 

One thing I love about Tierra Whack’s style is the straightforward approach to conveying her lyrics. Sometimes, it seems like Whack is blatantly talking to you but always sustaining a certain harmony in her tone while doing so. In “IMAGINARY FRIENDS” for instance, the artist freely shares “my last best friend said he wished he didn’t know me” and expands on her situation more as if you’re her confident, all over a lush sound with a prominent dreamy guitar. 

I particularly appreciated the random piano chords and key endings at the end of “MOOVIES,” “DIFFICULT” and “INVITATION.” The piano doesn’t necessarily coincide with where the song seems to be heading but offers an odd yet interesting closing to the tracks. The bass in “SHOWER SONG” is also truly addictive and the definition of groovy, especially accompanied by the catchy chorus harmonies where she names popular female artists that she’s singing to in the shower. 

Whack also confirms to herself and everyone else that she is a perpetually changing artist and constantly formulating her craft, stating “Every song I drop, I change the sound” on “INVITATION.” 

WORLD WIDE WHACK is a reflection on how the artist feels at not only this stage of her career but also how she experiences her life as an artist and as a regular human citizen. On “SNAKE EYES,” Whack says that she “treat[s] the fans like homies” and “blood, tear, and sweat I work so hard” giving some insight into how she is navigating fame and her work ethic. 

Whack spilled some of her personal consciousness through lyrics like “the glass full, but I’m empty” and “when the world seems like it’s against you when your friends and family forget you.” Whack isn’t apprehensive in delivering her psyche in a diary style over an almost calming and dreamy beat on the closing track “27 CLUB,” referring to the cultural phenomenon of celebrities—mostly musicians—who die at the age of 27 after some intriguing tragic event. 

A hip-hop polymath, Whack’s refreshing and creative persona is still present, offering all listeners a memorable and playful tone, yet balancing it out with raw lyrics making WORLD WIDE WHACK an infectious project. Whether you’re into witty production and catchy melodies, or pondering some more with vulnerable storytelling, the passionate artist has something in store for you. 

Score: 7.5/10

Trial Track: “SHOWER SONG”

Music Quickspins


The LA rapper’s latest album is versatile, vulnerable, and strikingly down-to-earth.

BLUE LIPS finds ScHoolboy Q in his most clear and focused state thus far in his career. It is the American rapper’s most personal record, and finds him exploring topics like past drug use, newfound sobriety, family life, fatherhood, and his mental well-being. He is perfectly self-aware of who he is and who he used to be: he truly comes across as down-to-earth through his songwriting. 

“Blueslides” is an especially vulnerable song where Q gets candid about his mental health. He sings, “But lately, I ain’t really been myself, ain’t strong as I seemed” and “I done made problems my problems, now I barely can breathe.” 

“Cooties” is another introspective highlight. In this song, Q shares his gratitude for his daughters and their stable, healthy life, while also expressing his worries about their safety. Lines like “Why God blessed me? I never deserved it,” are perfect examples of the poignant, personal lyricism on this record. 

“Germany 86” is an ode to his mother and formative years, a track in which he juxtaposes his present-day level-headedness with the everyday struggles and pain of his upbringing. The rapper celebrates the current version of himself throughout the album, but he is inherently tied to the man he once was.

Q approaches BLUE LIPS as charismatically as always. His delivery is filled with conviction and intonation, as he shouts his ad-libs and navigates through tracks with rapid, razor-sharp flows.

The production on the album is volatile and versatile, continuously cranking the dial between understated jazzy cuts, rattling brash tracks, and hybrids of both. Elegant jazz samples set the backdrop for tracks like “Blueslides” and “Lost Times.” 

Contrarily, “Pop” features rattling grunginess and rock guitars, sonic characteristics reminiscent of Q’s 2016 album Blank Face LP. Trap production takes center stage on several occasions to maintain the high energy: “Yeern 101” is an adrenaline-filled cut where Q relentlessly raps over heavy 808’s and a multitude of fast-paced claps and percussive sounds. 

There are all sorts of beat switches throughout the record, creating an exciting and unpredictable listening experience. The majority of tracks begin and end entirely differently, constantly keeping the listener on their toes. Some of the beats are more ambitious and experimental: “Foux” features percussions clattering in every direction; “Love Birds” and “Time killers” are based upon rhythmic, off-kilter grooves, yet Q finds his way over them perfectly with unique flows.

The featured artists are fitting additions to the album experience. Rapper and singer Rico Nasty perfectly matches ScHoolboy Q’s energy with her brash and brazen performance on “Pop,” aggressively screaming the track’s title. Producer and rapper Devin Malik’s double appearances are perfectly complementary to Q, given how similar his vocal delivery is. Rapper Ab-Soul’s appearance is another standout, thanks to his alarmed delivery which matches the eerie, hypnotic vocal sample looming beneath him.

Overall, BLUE LIPS is a culmination of the best traits of ScHoolboy Q’s music—it’san LP that is unpredictable and impressive all-around. Q is as expressive as ever and showcases a new level of humility and self-awareness. He truly comes across as grounded, which heightens the significance of the personal growth he conveys throughout the record.

Score: 8/10

Trial Track: Blueslides

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: 21 Savage — american dream

21 Savage’s newest project follows his path to fame, with more intense tracks alongside chill beats.

american dream by 21 Savage starts and ends with his mother’s voice. The first monologue features his mother, Heather Carmillia Joseph, as she talks about her hopes and desires for her son. The album concludes with her acknowledging his success. The American dream, if such a thing exists, is his, and he constantly expresses surprise at how he has survived his life thus far, such as in the final song off the album, “dark days.”

Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known as 21 Savage, is a British-American rapper based in Atlanta, Georgia. His stage name refers to a shooting on his 21st birthday that took his friend Johnny’s life. His most recent album american dream marks his first solo effort since i am > i was in 2018, and first release since the Metro Boomin-assisted SAVAGE MODE II in 2020. It runs just under 50 minutes long with 15 tracks, featuring collaborations with Doja Cat, Young Thug, Metro Boomin and Travis Scott, among others. 

The album has a liberal structure, using two monologues as a framing device. It leaves breathing room for the songs to speak for themselves while tying into the general themes of the album which include loss,  loyalty, violence and love, all of which Savage has been exploring throughout his career. Tracks like “redrum” highlight his recurring use of violent imagery, which dates back to his earliest projects like The Slaughter Tape (2015). His lyrics pull heavily from his own life. In the song “letter to my brudda” he outlines his loyalty to Young Thug and empathizes with his plight. It is an expression of love and friendship that recalls “letter 2 my momma” off the album i am > i was

The tracks on this album come together to create a complex picture of his life and thoughts at the time of recording, like with his previous releases. 21 Savage explores loss not only through death but also through incarceration. He condemns other rappers for snitching and talks about the injustice of the system that stripped his loved ones from his life—including Johnny. Abraham-Joseph carries this loss with him not only through his stage name, but also through an emotional current, almost as if to say “this is for you.” His success and career are all in memory of Johnny. 

There is a lot of variety in the sound on american dream, achieved through sampling and catchy soul and R&B beats. There are darker instrumentals, such as on “redrum.” Yet, he samples Mary J. Blige’s “I Don’t Want to Do Anything” on “should’ve wore a bonnet,” which has a chill, ballad vibe. 21 Savage’s talent is obvious from his lyricism to his composition. He uses metaphors and wordplay to elevate his lyrics.

The end of american dream is hopeful. 21 Savage talks about how he never thought he’d make it, and encourages his listeners to keep going. Heather Carmillia Joseph wishes her son even greater success now that he has this foundation of fame. She hopes for more for him, as every mother does.

Score: 7/10

Trial Track: dangerous

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