Last month, Lil Tjay returned to the limelight when he released his new album, 222. The Bronx rapper’s latest output features Summer Walker, YoungBoy NBA, The Kid Laroi, Polo G, and more. He recently caught up with Billboard to discuss his newest effort, performing alongside his “Gangsta Boo” collaborator Ice Spice and more.
For Tjay, 222 comes after the Bronx rapper was shot seven times last year during a botched robbery attempt. The near-fatal shooting left TJay with wounds to his lungs, neck and chest. In his song “Beat The Odds,” he rapped about the ordeal saying, “Grateful for the s–t I got ’cause I come from a hard life/ Demons on my mental, saw some s–t I wanna archive/ Feds lookin’ out tryna bring a n—a down/ Just thinkin’ ’bout the possibility, I frown.”
“I feel like the best I could feel,” he shares with Billboard a year after the incident. “My body works fine, my mind is in an alright place and my music is doing well. The trajectory for the next five years is only up.” Tjay also notes his appreciation for life now, after taking the little things for granted.
“I take life a little bit more seriously now. I take my career a lot more seriously now. I feel more appreciative. When I was in the hospital, I remember I woke up and couldn’t get out the bed or nothing. I had a tube in my throat and couldn’t brush my teeth. It was for days, and the amount of money I would have paid if they allowed me to brush my teeth is crazy.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Tjay shares his jubilation for his Bronx teammate and “Gangsta Boo” collaborator Ice Spice, with whom he shared the stage with at Hot 97’s Summerjam concert in June.
“It’s crazy because I was supposed to perform but missed my set,” remembers TJay. “I was late. I was like, ‘Ice. Yo bring me out.’ We had spoke about it before that. I wasn’t sure, but I wound up just doing it. It was turnt. I ain’t gon lie. It was lit.”
He adds: “It was one of those full circle moments, being that I met Ice before who she is today. To see the crowd go crazy for her for the first time in person, it was lit.”
Watch Tjay’s full interview with Billboard News.