The Rise of Long Island Teen: Lil Tecca

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The Rise of Long Island Teen: Lil Tecca

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In a matter of only four months, the name “Lil Tecca” has become ubiquitous on a national level. Tyler Sharpe, only 17-years-old and hailing from Lawrence, Long Island, saw his career skyrocket after the release of his hit song “Ransom” on May 22. Since then, Sharpe—better known as Lil Tecca—has amassed over 200 million plays on spotify for “Ransom” alone, accrued two million followers on Instagram, and, at 16-years-old, saw his song, “Ransom,” hit the Billboard Hot 100 on June 15.  

Prior to “Ransom,” Tecca was featured mainly on SoundCloud, an online platform for the distribution of music, and boasted roughly 75,000 followers. On Aug. 30, the rap sensation released his long-awaited debut album We Love You Tecca, which reached #4 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of Sept. 14. So, how exactly did Lil Tecca go from a high school sophomore to a top-10 Billboard artist in just one year? 

Tecca’s career had a rather humble beginning: during an Xbox game of Call of Duty when he was only nine years old. According to an interview with complex.com in an article titled “Lil Tecca: Everything You Need to Know About the Rapper,” published on Aug. 26, after being “flamed” by a friend via Xbox Live, he took his sister’s laptop, downloaded Audacity, recorded himself over a beat, and then uploaded it to Soundcloud. At the time, Tecca received inspiration from his favorite artists, including Eminem, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, and Chief Keef. Basing his sound off those artists, he recorded multiple other diss tracks about people in his school—until his guidance counselor found out and Tecca deleted all of the tapes. To the dismay of many fans, those tracks have yet to be recovered.  

 Since then, Tecca has almost entirely redesigned himself. Known and loved for his almost wholesome personality, Tecca has become quite a fan favorite for his Internet personality. His signature thick glasses and bold braces, which he is never afraid to show online, offer an unprecedented contrast between the content of his music and who he is as a person. One viral video specifically magnifies this point: an interview recorded with Genius, a YouTube channel that features popular artists and their explanations of their lyrics. It is hard not to laugh as Tecca raps lines of “Ransom” in perfect character, fitting the whole persona, but quickly rushes to clarify that all of the illegal activities discussed are entirely fictional. Self-proclaimed “Lil Tecca fanatic” senior Camden Hetrick explained, “I love the video with Genius because it shows a side that you can’t see from his songs. It shows that he’s a teen just like us and that he’s real and that he’s funny. He raps about serious stuff in his songs, but this video, in a sense, makes him more relatable, more human.”  

Now inspired by artists like Lil Uzi Vert, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and JUICE WRLD, Tecca’s sound, too, has seen some revision, so much so that the young artist even refers to some of his earlier songs as “trash.”  

With a new persona and a new sound, Tecca’s rising popularity started to gain momentum. However, when the founder of the Los Angeles-based music collective Internet Money tweeted out that he believes he and Lil Tecca should work together, the young rapper’s career was brought to the next level. Tecca and his manager Giuseppe Zappala flew to California to meet with the founder, Taz Taylor, in person and record what would later be used to break out his rap career. Although not all of the songs initially made news, “Ransom” was almost an immediate hit. Notwithstanding Tecca’s talent, some credit can be awarded to Lyrical Lemonade founder Cole Bennet, who directed the single’s music video. The video was a smash hit, receiving over 161 million views on YouTube as of mid-October. 

His growing fame shows no signs of stopping, as Tecca signed a joint venture deal that combined his Galactic Records with Republic Records. He is also currently completing his international “The We Love You Tecca Tour.” This Long Island teen will be displaying his talents across the West and East Coast and as far as Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the U.K. Senior CJ Sollitto stated, “I saw Tecca at his performance at Rolling Loud [a recent music festival in New York], and it was insane. He was a captivating performer, and the crowd was electric at the mere sight of him.” At only 17 and still enrolled as a high school senior, Lil Tecca has managed to become a global sensation. “I think it’s really cool how he lives so close to us and how he’s famous,” commented sophomore Grace Bodian. Through all his fame, Tecca has stayed in touch with his roots and has become the pride of Long Island.