Vision Clear
Shifting his outlook on music and life has helped Lil Tecca grow.
Interview: Aleia Woods
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

A lot has changed since Lil Tecca burst onto the rap scene with his breakout hit “Ransom” in 2019. Fast-forward four years, and the Long Island native, now 21, has a whole fresh approach to his music. Coming off a new album, TEC, released in September, and a five-city precursor tour in November ahead of his 2024 U.S. and European treks, Lil Tecca’s plate is full. Here, he shares his musical growth, plans to delve into acting and pen his own television show, his goal of creating 1,000 beats within the next few months and more.

XXL: What was the difference in the process of making your album TEC versus We Love You Tecca 2?

Lil Tecca: This time around, we were kind of a little more centered on sonically, where we wanted to bring the project. At first, I was kind of in my little dancehall bag, just getting that out the way, getting a few songs that I like done for that. Then, progressively, we kind of changed genres, made certain songs and certain vibes, and got those vibes done.

When you approached the album, did you know how you wanted it to sound?

I kind of wanted to talk about more personal topics this time around to give a little bit more context to who I am, where I’m from and where I plan on being in the next two years. So, besides the sonics, it was a little bit more personal than other projects.

How has getting older impacted you musically?

As you get older, you start speaking about different things, and especially with me being the same age as [the] majority of my fans. It’s kind of a growth period that I have with my fans. And, yeah, I was 16 going through some crazy stuff. So, my music kind of took a turn really fast and it became that little disconnect with a relating point. I feel like now, I’m 21, a lot of my fans are 21 now. So, like, we’re all kind of grown, and for the most part, grown people go through the same stuff. I feel like my music relates way more to my fans than it ever did right now. And it kind of makes it easier to speak about what I’m going through because I know I’m not alone.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve experienced from the release of your debut album to now?

I protect my energy way more. I used to care more about being the good guy. I don’t really care about being the good guy anymore. I don’t really care about how people view me. I don’t believe that other people’s perspective of me is even my business.

How did you get to that point where those things don’t matter or impact you?

It’s just when you think about how big the world is, we’re just on this little rock floating in space. One day, I’m going to be an 85-year-old and I’m not going to have the brain power to think about what someone thought of me when I was 20 years old, chasing my dreams.

What are some things you’d like to accomplish before the year is out?

I want to make 100 more beats. Actually, 1,000.

What is on your to-do list for 2024?

Making more music. After this album, get into film. I want to direct a TV show. I’ma start writing up dialogue for that and a timeline. I want to start doing acting classes. I want to create a video game where you could walk up to an NPC and become friends with ’em and be like, “Yo, what’s up? Let’s go to the store. Let’s do some crazy s**t.” Kind of like Grand Theft Auto, but you could talk to everyone that’s walking around like, they’re not just dormant.

Read Lil Tecca's interview in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on newsstands now. The new issue also includes the cover story with Latto and conversations with Killer Mike, Flo Milli, DD OsamaMaiya The DonMonaleoMello BuckzzSexyy RedBigXThaPlug, plus more. Additionally, there's an exclusive interview with Fetty WapQuality Control Music's Coach K and P discuss 10 years into the label's growth, in-depth stories on the popularity of sampling in hip-hop in 2023 and the state of hip-hop touring, and the best moments of hip-hop's year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

See Photos From Latto's XXL Magazine Winter 2023 Cover Story