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June 07, 2024

Phillie Phanatic brings dance moves to Tierra Whack's Tiny Desk Concert

The hip-hop star says she had to 'bring a piece of home' to her performance on the NPR Music series.

Music Hip-hop
Tierra Whack Phanatic NPR Music/YouTube

Tierra Whack performs alongside the Phillie Phanatic for 'Black Music Month' on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series.

Tierra Whack didn't travel alone to Washington to perform a set on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series. The rising hip-hop star and North Philly native brought along a special guest — the Phillie Phanatic — to represent her hometown and bust out the dance moves. 

"Ya'll know I gotta keep it Philly," Whack told the audience. "Listen, I bleed green. I bleed red. I bleed anything Philly, it's all me, so you know I had to bring a piece of home with me."

Whack, 28, released her dark and soul-searching album "World Wide Whack" in March, building on the eccentric style she flashed in her critically acclaimed 2018 debut mixtape, "Whack World."

Whack pointed out that her Tiny Desk Concert was her first time performing with a backing band, which included an ensemble of guitars, percussion, keys and vocalists. "It's sounding good!" Whack said. "We might have to go on tour. I'm liking it."

Whack's 10-song set included a mix of tracks from "Whack World" and "World Wide Whack." The Phanatic joined the band for "Moovies," one of the more upbeat songs off the new album. In typical fashion, the Phanatic grooved with impeccable grace for a creature of his general blob-like nature.

When "World Wide Whack" came out, Whack talked about the loneliness she felt trying to live up to the pressure of her newfound fame. Several songs from the album, including "27 Club," deal with themes of suicidal ideation that Whack has said she's been able to overcome by embracing her opportunity, leaning on family and seeking therapy. And it's a credit to Whack's playfulness that the Phillie Phanatic could have a fitting place in a performance that deals with such heavy subject matter.

Whack's Tiny Desk Concert is part of NPR's "Black Music Month." for the long-running Tiny Desk Concert series. Other performers have included Nigerian R&B artist Tems and jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.