Teeta World is Just as Epic and Ambitious as Its Name Suggests

by Nick Hanover

If you’re a wiser person than me, you kept clear of the scene squabbles and whining that ensued when Pitchfork singled out Quin NFN, Whookilledkenny and The Teeta as the MVPs of the Austin hip hop scene after the Austin Chronicle gave them some cover love. But I’m sure you can guess how the criticisms went– these acts are too commercial/untalented/style focused/stereotypical/yawnyawnyawn. It’s obviously too early to tell whether anyone featured in that piece will truly blow up and carry the rest of Austin hip hop with them, but a few months later, we’ve got one album to go off and I’ve gotta say, the future’s looking pretty damn bright, haters be damned.

Unsurprisingly for anyone who has been keeping an eye on the new wave of Austin rap, it’s the Teeta who’s landing the first major work after that profile, and the brightness isn’t limited to just his commercial prospects. Teeta World is everything its title and artwork suggest– Teeta’s art and philosophy brought to glowing celestial life, refining his sometimes scattered aesthetic to one titanic synth heavy blast with no shortage of hooks. Elements of the almost neurotic moroseness of singles like “Summersaults” and “Audrey Hepburn” still come through, particularly in the almost post-rock situated “Rain,” but ultimately Teeta World is a lean, disciplined tour-de-force that announces the Teeta as an act who is more than ready for prime time.

Through Teeta World, the Teeta calls out his less ambitious peers for being “jokes,” the type of acts who are more concerned about imaginary clout than paydays and careers, and nothing about that feels like hollow braggadocio, just facts. “Real Estate” has the Teeta rolling out world domination plans, “making plays in 50 states,” over the kind of beat you’re more likely to hear in a cyberpunk game than a grubby mixtape forced into your hands on 6th. “Free Clout” has simpler instrumentation but ramps up the menace, Teeta’s voice staying at a near-whisper as he casually reminds you he “always stood out,” providing examples of how easily he achieves his goals while lesser acts exhaust themselves with bullshit.

You don’t even need lyrical flexes to pick up on how capable Teeta is, though. One of Teeta’s core strengths– and the biggest reason why he has always been poised to break out– is his ability to shift between styles and deliveries without it seeming forced. In the past, Teeta’s main struggle has been maintaining some kind of cohesion to that on longer length releases, but Teeta World resolves that in a major way. The album has as much variety as anything else Teeta has done but it gels in a way nothing else he has released has been able to.

Take the shift from the subterranean rumble and sinister flow of “Graduated” to the dreamy, carefree vibe of “Diamond Hourglass” with its gorgeous electric piano sample and Teeta’s confident but vulnerable delivery. In two tracks you get both ends of Teeta’s musical spectrum, and then it’s followed by the woodwind heavy “Stripper Era,” splitting the difference between the two while also adding some new stylistic flourishes of its own.

Teeta World also has Teeta letting his vocals provide more of the hooks, particularly on the epic “Rain,” where a grungy beat is broken up by an angelic choir and bright synth sounds. Weirder but somehow even more addictive is closer “Baggage Claim,” which sounds like a lost Odd Future and Migos collab and provides the instant classic line “Get off Twitter with all of that foolishness,” which I really should get tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

It’s not that Teeta World breaks totally new ground for the Teeta, or alters his core artistic DNA– if you’ve been following Teeta for any length of time, you’ve known his star potential was there. What Teeta World does provide is a slimming down of excess and an embrace of editing and refinement that proves Teeta is far more ready than most of his peers for a bigger stage, as well as a clear fuck you to anyone who thinks he’s all flash and no substance. Personally, I’m more than ready to be living in Teeta World.

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Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at  Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover