“If you know, you know,” says 16-year-old Lil Tecca of his chart-climbing hit song “Ran$om.” After debuting at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June, the popular track has now worked its way to No. 10 on the very same chart. Seemingly unfazed by his recent success, Tecca admits that he isn’t surprised that his Nick Mira and Taz Taylor-produced breakthrough record has managed to take off. The Queens rapper opens up about his rise to rap fame, how he launched his hip-hop career on Xbox, performing for “old people” and how his Jamaican roots have influenced his music in XXL's Who Am I? series.

After Tecca previewed "Ran$om" earlier this year via Instagram, his budding fan base was left with a hunger for more. “They was asking for that song before it was out,” Lil Tecca tells XXL. Once the track dropped in May, along with its accompanying music video, which has over 70 million YouTube views to date, the burgeoning artist quickly earned comparisons to another New York rapper, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. While they both have sticky melodies and lyrics centered on the ladies and designer drip, Tecca is the voice of the next generation.

Before he was Lil Tecca with a hit song under his belt, a record deal with Republic Records through his Galactic Records in place and millions of plays on SoundCloud and views on YouTube, the emerging rap star born Tyler-Justin Sharpe lived the life of a typical teenager. Raised in Queens, N.Y., he spent time playing both basketball and video games, which led him to launching a rap career. “I dissed one of my friends that I met through Xbox. That’s how I started rapping,” says the “My Time” artist, whose debut project, We Love You Tecca, is slated to drop later this year.

For the teen’s first official performance as an artist, he managed to avoid first-time jitters. Tecca, who lists Speaker Knockerz and Chief Keef as artists he listened to growing up, says he doesn’t really get nervous at shows since the people in attendance are there to see him. His inaugural show took place at S.O.B.s, an iconic venue located in his hometown, in front of an audience full of “old people." According to him, they “didn’t really know what was going on.”

Tecca also reveals the origins of his name, how his Jamaican roots influence his songs like “Love Me,” “Count Me Out” and “My Time,” and goal to be the best producer in the game. Get better acquainted with Lil Tecca by watching his Who Am I?hg0088 interview below.

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