One of the most alluring things about the rise of Queens MC Lil Tecca was the young star’s willingness to take off his cool. His way of annotating a gun reference in the lyrics of breakout song “Ransom” included an admission: “I don’t have no straps for nobody…no straps around here.” With each project he’d release, however, Tecca seemed to get further and further away from stereotypical rap posturing, using his signature nasally delivery to dig deeper into his own continually evolving reality. (It’s easier to sound cool as an MC when your life actually does involve consultations with a stylist and avoiding thirsty groupies.) And Tecca sounds nothing if not cool on TEC, the MC’s third proper album and fourth release since 2019’s We Love You Tecca mixtape. Production is handled largely by the Internet Money collective Tecca made his name with and Working on Dying’s ‎BNYX®, both of whom provide 808-heavy backdrops for the MC’s endless non sequiturs. Each bar is a day in the life of Tecca unfolding, like the following passage, which appears on “500lbs”: “She told me she bad, I say, ‘You could do worse’/I'm born to be blessed, I live with a curse/When shit is a mess, I'm rollin' up first/I smoke on my blunt, then I hit the church.” The project is likewise rife with unique Tecca-isms like “I take it slow now, but I got no reason to slow down” from “Gist,” or “I don’t need someone I need/I don’t need someone like me,” a claim he makes on title track “TEC.” On the whole, any given song is less about any single topic than it is an opportunity for Tecca to empty out his rhyme vault—a practice familiar to the album’s singular feature, Florida hero Kodak Black. Each is a talent who understands that sharing what goes on in their brains is more than enough to keep us entertained.

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