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Lil Tecca Expands His Range on “TEC”

It feels like just yesterday when Lil Tecca catapulted to success with his viral hit, “Ransom.” But quietly, he’s now amassed nearly 5 years of industry experience. In that span, he dropped 3 albums: We Love You Lil Tecca (his debut), Virgo World, and We Love You Lil Tecca 2. With the closing days of Virgo season, he’s now adding to that catalog with his fourth full-length, TEC.

Tecca Enlists Heavy Hitters in the First Half

In the early goings, “HVN ON EARTH” greets us—a joint track from Tecca & Kodak Black where they enlist help from Working on Dying producer BYNX. Opening with the same sequence of producer tags as Drake’s March single “Search & Rescue,” Tecca’s release with the rising hitmaker shares the same ethereal trappings. BYNX earns half a dozen production credits on TEC, speaking to Tecca’s willingness to step outside of his comfort zone with his collaborators.

Towards the midpoint, we get “Fell in Love,” a highly anticipated track in Tecca-centric circles for its Ken Carson feature. In its full form, this track plays much more to the guest’s sensibilities than it does to Tecca’s, leaning into that synth-filled world that the Opium signee is well-versed in. Carson also monopolizes the runtime with two extended verses, and clearly influences the cadence Tecca adopts in his section. This is an opportunity for the Ransom rapper to spread his wings a bit. He shows that the melodic NYC sound he continues to major in isn’t the only lane he’s comfortable with.

Taken from the alt “Rap Caviar” cover for ‘TEC’. Retrieved from @liltecca on Instagram

Lil Tecca Gives a Window Into His Day-To-Day

“500lbs,” the first single we got and the 4th song in the tracklist here, splits the difference between cloud rap and rage—an equal balance between dreamy keys a la Metro Boomin’s “Rich N**** S***,” and heavy EDM synths employed by genre peers Yeat and Playboi Carti. For his half of the equation, we find Tecca far more grounded than on some of his earliest hits. While the Genius interview where he confessed that much of Ransom’s lyrics were more imagery than reality seems to make the rounds every few months, Tecca fully embraces how he really lives his life on “500lbs.” Rapping “I’m trustin’ half what I’m shown / I don’t pop out, but it’s each to they own,” he’s fully assured in his low-key lifestyle, confident that he’s a star no matter the expectations placed on him.

The Melodic Side of TEC

As we near the end of this album, things take a turn towards the tender with the span from “Used2This” to “Need Me.” Those two cuts feature two of the more unorthodox and creative production choices. The former reaches back to the early 2010s for its beat, and gives Tecca the chance to flex his rags-to-riches story, while the latter travels even further back in time and lands in the 70s with its soul sample and funk bassline. While the rapper’s performance over those stylings isn’t reinventing the wheel, it does showcase a willingness to embrace trends, “Need Me” resembling some of the retro output of industry peers like Coi Leray.

All told, Lil Tecca is not a completely different artist on the other side of his fourth LP. But the experimentation in the margins keeps the material here fresh and inventive. Many of the selections on TEC seemed primed for radio play, or at the very least, Rap Caviar playlist selection. You can find the project now on all streaming platforms.

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