By Mira Sripada (’22)
Lil Tecca, also known as Tyler-Justin Anthony Sharpe is an American rapper born in New York City. At eighteen-years-old, Lil Tecca has released two albums: We Love You Tecca and Virgo World, dropped in 2019 and 2020 respectively. In just a short period of time, Lil Tecca has accumulated over 3.5 million followers on Instagram and produced “Ransom”, a song that kick started his career, reaching number four on the Top Billboard 100.
Upon listening to Virgo World, it becomes clear how Lil Tecca’s collaborations with other rappers are where the artist finds his most musical success and groove. This is best exemplified by the third song on the album, “When You Down (feat. Lil Durk and Polo G)”. Sharpe’s unenthusiastic and cold rapping perfectly opposes Lil Durk’s and Polo G’s emotional styles. This compliments a simple beat underlaid by a heavy and twangy piano melody. Sharpe establishes his dominance in the rap game with “Dolly (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)”, a collaboration with one of the most prominent artists in the hip hop/rap scene. Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Tecca tackle this song with outcries and bursts of lyrical energy backed up by a bouncy and rubbery base. Another feature is found in the track, “Foreign (feat. NAV)”. Preceded by an intense synth intro, the chorus of this song is loud, obnoxious and more melodic than in many other songs. The brevity of this song adds to its appeal and the classical instrumentation makes the track feel royal and supreme.
Speaking of royal, “Royal Rumble”, the sixth track on the album continues to contribute to the album’s popularity. It is in this song that listeners can hear a syncopated beat overlaid by a twinkly melody. Furthermore, the message of this song is indicative of many of Tecca’s works. Lyrics of confidence and boastfulness parade the track and inspire courage in Sharpe’s fans. This is seen when the artist sings, “. . . I’m the king, it’s a Royal Rumble/Came out on top like a Royal Rumble”. With reference to a wrestling event, Tecca demonstrates the extent of the strength in the rap game compared to others.
“Closest To Heaven”, the 15th song on the track and possibly the strongest, continues to add to the memorability of Virgo World. This song is danceable, light, airy and catchy. Sharpe employs a tactic present in the majority of his songs which is to keep his tracks below three minutes. This brevity allows his audience to listen to the song multiple times without feeling the effects of repetitiveness.
That being said, Virgo World, also provides some pieces worthy of criticism. “Selection” which is not only by Lil Tecca but also Skrillex and DJ Scheme, is composed of an overly complicated and childish beat and communicates messages with empty meanings. Additionally, “True To The Game (feat. Guwop Reign)”, also has a dissatisfactory feeling. This song is packed with too many sounds that it leaves the track sounding busy, overcrowded and rambunctious. Guwop Reign’s intense and deep voice clashes with that of Sharpe’s and leads to disharmony. Both “Selection” and “True To The Game (feat. Guwop Reign)” exemplify a style unfamiliar to Lil Tecca whose rapping is typically calm, controlled and generally monotonous.
In addition to the songs mentioned above, listed below are some honorable mentions that contribute to the album’s memorability: “Chemistry”, “Out Of Love (feat. Internet Money)” and “Back It Up”.
Ultimately, Lil Tecca finds his most musical achievement when he sticks to simple beats and simple melodies. Possibly with the help of other rappers, Lil Tecca can generate short and sweet songs with boastful lyrics and catchy melodies, which is a style that was perfectly executed on his last album, We Love You Tecca. However, when Lil Tecca raps on top of overcrowded beats and tries to be loud and rowdy, he loses that sense of tranquility and control that much of his audience enjoys. Virgo World presents an interesting dynamic between calm and chaotic, a sound that may need improving for future bodies of work for Lil Tecca.