Rising rapper Tierra Whack emerges from the Philadelphia underground with “Mumbo Jumbo,” a tongue-in-cheek take on mumble rap that is as infectious as it is perplexing.
The track, which blends unintelligible vocals over a head-knocking beat, comes with an eerie visual. Constrained by a dental mouth opener, Tierra sings her melodies while getting work done to her grill.
After a disturbing and bloody process, Whack is allowed to exit the futuristic, clean, and modern facility, into a disastrous, apocalyptic world. Smiling with a huge new mouth, filled with oversized teeth, Tierra sees that others are forcibly smiling through the wreckage, fire, and mayhem, as well.
Despite its title, “Mumbo Jumbo” did not start out as a take on mumble rap. “When I’m recording, I usually just mumble and hum a melody and then fill the words in as I go,” she told Pigeons & Planes. “This time I just decided not to. It felt so good to me and my engineer, so we stuck with it. It actually had nothing to do with mumble rap initially, the timing was just right. People always say people from my generation (mumble rappers) can’t rap and it’s killing hip-hop. Well I can rap, but mumble rap isn’t about that. It’s about a feeling. It makes you feel good.”
According to Tierra, who used to go by Dizzle Dizz, the video is meant to be observed like an art piece. “I want people to interpret it themselves just like art, so I can’t give you my full breakdown of the concept,” she said. “But the same week I recorded this song I got my tooth pulled and that’s how I got the idea of the dentist. I like creepy shit, shit that’s gonna make you ask why and look at what everyone is doing, asking why? Almost everybody has been to the dentist and nobody enjoys that pain so I knew it would be relatable.”