When opportunity knocked, 17-year-old Bronx rapper Lil TJay answered.

During a 2016 jail stint over a robbery, he passed the time by writing songs—two notebooks full to be exact. After being freed in mid 2017, he dropped his first song "Resume" at the top of 2018. The song took off almost immediately, racking up more than 14 million streams to date.

The quick success only made TJay hungrier for bigger hits. And it didn't take him too long to find what he was looking for: his somber mid-2018 track "Brothers" crossed the 20 million stream threshold with ease. Bringing things full circle, the song represents TJay at his most appreciative, thankful for his loved ones and a second chance after jail. Now a Columbia Records signee with his No Comparison EP just a few weeks old, the Lil TJay plans to continue playing the hand he was dealt and collecting all of the chips.

Learn more about Lil TJay in the latest installment of XXL's The Break.

Age: 17

Hometown: Bronx

I grew up listening to: "A lot of Meek [Mill], [Rick] Ross, Rihanna, Drake—people like that. [I met Meek] two days ago. He told me he fuck with my shit."

My style’s been compared to: "Early stages in my career like—more like 'Resume' time—I was getting compared a lot to [A] Boogie [Wit Da Hoodie]. Right now, I don't really hear too much of a strong comparison to anybody."

My standout records to date have been: "'Brothers' is definitely my biggest song right now. It got like 15 mil on YouTube. Then we got 'None Of Your Love'—it's 10 mil on SoundCloud. Video coming real soon. 'Leaked' is getting up there. I think it's at 5 mil on SoundCloud."

My most slept-on song: "I feel like all my songs slept-on. I'm not complainin', but I just wanna drop more heat. That's gon' put the light on the slept-on songs and they ain't gon' be slept-on no more."

My standout moments to date have been: "The other day I was performin' in front of a crowd—I don't know, how many people—at the Wells Fargo Center [in Philadelphia]. It was great. I like the response I got from the crowd. Industry was there. It was lit. It was a good experience."

I’m going to blow up because: "My work ethic, talent and hunger. I really believe that I'm gonna blow up. It's how I feel."

I’m going to be the next: "I'm going to be the next king of the Earth."

Follow Lil TJay on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts: No Comparison



"None Of You Love"


"Ready For War"

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