This coming Tuesday, November 13, SPEC–TRUM and Jazz & Grooves will collaborate to present headliner Tierra Whack and supporting acts Tobi Lou and Riz La Vie, performing at the Rotunda at 4014 Walnut Street. Two SPEC–affiliated groups: SPEC–TRUM, designed to represent undergraduate minorities, and Jazz & Grooves, known for bringing up–and–coming musical acts to campus, have previously hosted concerts by artists such as Young Thug, Aminé, Daniel Caesar, and Smino. 

Main act Tierra Whack is a Philadelphia rapper whose debut album Whack World was released to widespread critical acclaim, with Pitchfork calling her a “true hip-hop original” and Complex lauding her as one of the best new artists of 2018. In a statement to Street, J&G directors said that "when the TRUM and J&G directors first met back in September to discuss the possibility of a collab, the first artist that we discussed was Tierra. It fit into our vision for the year of promoting artists who are breaking down barriers in their genre." 

Whack's surreal, dreamlike rap style showcases her unique approach to music—in fact, each song on Whack World is only a minute long, yet her tracks bleed with concentrated creativity, embracing the weird in musical vignettes that master sounds from hip-hop and trap to R&B and, in one instance of absurdist Southern twang in “Fuck Off”, country. Tierra Whack’s lyrics tackle her life on her own terms, riffing on quick scenes and emotions, with each song taking just enough time to craft a story. "She’s really pushing the boundaries of rap and hip hop right now," says J&G co–director Noa Jett (C'20).

Currently on his first tour, Tobi Lou is a Chicago hip-hop artist on the rise. Gaining recognition after songs like “Game Ova”, where he sing–raps over a soulful beat driven by electric piano, Tobi Lou has established a style based on playful, upbeat rap as well as cartoons, which play a large role in his artwork and music videos. His song “TROOP”, featuring Smino, is infectious; the half–animated video utilizes copious amounts of ironic green-screens and psychedelic animations. Tobi Lou’s endearing rap has made him a definite artist-to-watch. 

New York City–based artist Riz La Vie can't be categorized. On his two EPs, “Found.” and “Keep.”, his songs incorporate everything from mellow hip-hop to rock and pop. With a raspy, wrenching, and emotional vocal delivery, Riz La Vie’s music is expressive yet subdued. In fact, TIME Magazine described it as “channeling [vocal energy] into lyrics that verge on the poetic — while still giving the prettiness of his subdued melody space to breathe.” Riz La Vie values artistry over fame, but has still packed venues with audiences clamoring for his electrifying performances. 

SPEC-trum and Jazz & Grooves’ event is open only to Penn students. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with the show beginning at 8. Tickets are $5 in advance, and can be bought on Locust Walk or at this link; tickets will be $7 at the door. Don’t miss these three artists at the Rotunda on Tuesday! 


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