Ever the people’s champ, Tierra Whack closed her set by giving a fan her Nikes—and telling us to stay hydrated.
It’s happened before at Austin City Limits and it’ll happen again in the age of climate change: It’s too dang hot in October, and so a rap DJ’s laptop overheats.
“This my biggest fan,” DJ Zach told the crowd gathered for Whack Saturday afternoon at the T-Mobile stage. This one was a literal, big-blade fan.
“Can y’all come up here and blow on my computer?”
His warmup music, consisting of aughts hits from Fergie, Gwen Stefani, and Nelly buffered and stalled. Eight minutes and two spinning fans later, the jump-off was back on. And eight minutes later, Whack jumped into the crowd as a swarm of student-aged fans yelled “Only Child’s” breakdown: “You ain’t never think about nobody but yourself!”
Rocking gold hoop earrings, turquoise makeup, and neon nails, the 25-year-old Philadelphia rapper delivered a glowing set of buoyant live rap energy pinned on the board with superb songwriting.
Last year’s “Whack World” was spastic, dryly funny, and a snap: It’s only 15 minutes long.
Kiss-off anthem “Wasteland” was a toast to self-worth. And prior to “Black Nails,” Whack convinced even the security guys to hold their hands up. “Zack get your hands up,” she likewise ordered her DJ.
MF Doom once told hip-hop fans to put their hands down at a show. This was funnier because her music is a jumble of American dialogue and a play on not just slang, but how we talk to each other. We bark “sir” at department stores in fits when we need something. We complain about communicating with people who have Android phones. Whack’s raps are evocative and curt; her music is a love letter to good reaction GIFs.
“Cable Guy” breaks down power dynamics in love with acronyms. “4 Wings,” with its hook about ketchup, put it best: “I’m not perfect but I improvise.” “Hookers” and “Pet Cemetery” are soaring flares of hip-hop and here inspired the kids to move.
“Pretty Ugly,” which soundtracked a Walgreens commercial that played a bunch before streaming episodes of NBC’s “This Is Us,” showed off the proven hit-making chops.