Gen Z needed an innovator with the ability to understand the past, yet kickstart the future all the same. Enter Lil Tecca. At 18-years-old, the multiplatinum-selling Queens-born artist can run circles around any beat with the kind of dazzling wordplay New York remains synonymous with, but his otherworldly melodies crash land right from outer space. After reaching unprecedented heights with billions of streams and numerous multiplatinum certifications, he fulfills his destiny on his 2021 second full-length album.
“I feel like our generation is going to pop out of nowhere so fast, all of a sudden,” he states. “When it happens, everyone is going to be like, ‘Yo, what is all of this?’ I want to be the face of this generation unfolding right in front of the world. The future is now.”
Since 2017, he has raced towards this future as quickly as possible, while cementing himself as one of rap’s most vital rising superstars. In 2020, his full-length debut album, Virgo World, bowed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 and yielded two Hot 100 entries—namely “Dolly”withLilUzi Vertand “When You Down”feat. LilDurk with Polo G. Thus far, the record has clocked over 300 million streams and counting. HotNewHipHop praised it as “a great starting point for the 18-year-old.” Tecca first exploded with his platinum-certified mixtape, We Love You Tecca, and his breakout quadruple-platinum single “Ransom”in 2019. He reeled in acclaim from New York Times, Billboard, HYPEBEAST, Complex, and many others in addition to selling out shows on his first headline run, the We Love You Tecca WorldTour. Throughout 2020, he assembled the new album in Los Angeles and Miami, working exclusively with Internet Money founder Taz Taylor [XXXTentacion, Juice WRLD] as the project’s Executive Producer. They immediately locked into an upbeat mode.
“When Taz and I linked up, every single day was fun,” he smiles. “Taz is just honest. I trust his instincts a lot, and he trusts my instincts a lot. We just make a really dynamic team. Every day in the studio, he would reiterate, ‘Fun’. We knew exactly what we wanted to get out, and it just got stronger and stronger over time. This felt like a team effort. There wasn’t much pressure, but I put a lot of work into it. I was really studying all of my own shit in the same way fashion designers and creative directors look at their past.”
He initially paved the way for the project with the introductory single “Never Left.” Within the first week, it impressively gathered 10 million-plus Spotify streams and over 3 million YouTube views as Elevator Magazine professed, “Lil Tecca has been carving out his lane for a minute now, and each track is coming more tightly wound than the last."
“Every single line in that song is the truth,” he goes on. “It was based on people saying things about me, but not realizing whatever they say is not going to change the fact I create good music. It came from me knowing myself.”
His confidence resounds loud and clear on “Repeat It” with Gunna. Over anxiously tense classicalinspired keys, he trades slippery and sharp bars with the “Drip King” himself Gunna. “That song has a particular heartbeat to it,” he explains. “When you turn it on, there’s a great edge.”
Feeding off the beat, he dips in and out of airy 808s with woozy melodies on “Lot of Me” as he confesses, “I just take my best feelings, put it in a song, I know I was right, I know you was wrong.” During “Money On Me,” his vocals float through moods as cymbals buzz. Then, there’s “You Don’t Need Me No More.” Its nostalgic vibe underscores one of his most melodic hooks yet.
“You can’t control everything that goes on in life,” he observes. “I was finally able to let a lot of things go, and it wasn’t uncomfortable. I just said what was on my mind.”
By doing so, Tecca ultimately gives his generation a voice in 2021.
“If you listen to this, I want you to walk away with a whole different type of determination for your own life,” he leaves off. “I hope you feel how much I went through. I felt pain, but it was also a lot of fun. This isn’t lazy music. I want you to know this is for real.”