Lil Tjay Draws Songs on His True 2 Myself Album
Hailing from hip-hop's birthplace, Bronx-bred rapper Lil Tjay has been making major waves in 2019. After being released from jail in 2017, Tjay took the rhymes he wrote behind bars and put them on wax—making for a breakout 2018 that saw his song "Resume" take off. Now as 2019 comes to an end, the young rapper has surpassed the 100 million-streaming mark on Spotify and has gone double-platinum and nabbed his first Billboard Hot 100 hit thanks to his feature on Polo G's summer smash, "Pop Out."
Fresh on the heels of dropping his debut album, True 2 Myself, the 18-year-old artist is enjoying his rise to fame while remaining authentic to his roots. The album features all six tracks from Tjay's F.N EP, released in August, as well as 11 new tracks, which include remixes to his hits "Brothers" with Lil Durk and "Leaked" with Lil Wayne. After dropping the album last Friday (Oct. 11), Tjay stopped by the XXL office for our Masterpiece series to visualize his lyrics on paper.
Though he's no Van Gogh ("I don't know how good of a artist I am yet, so feel me?" he begins), he recreates his album cover, which shows his face covered by his hands with two diamond watches, two diamond rings and a diamond chain shining brightly. "It's just me, diamonds bustin', all types of stuff like that," Lil Tjay says of the black-and-white cover. "It just show me flexin'."
As he continues to draw his self-portrait of sorts, Tjay explains the meaning behind the album's title. "I feel like being true to yourself is always going to keep you humble; it's always going to make you remember who you are," Tjay shares. "Honestly, my goal is just to let people hear my story and just like, feed everybody that could relate to my story in any way. It's basically just to motivate people; motivate the kids that's going through what I went through in the past, so that's why I named it True 2 Myself."
As he nears completion of his first piece of art, Tjay's confidence in his newfound artistry shows. "I'm the best artist to ever been on this," he affirms. "I'm jackin' that. I'ma prove that to y'all."
Next up, Tjay draws the album's opening track, "One Take." Like the song's title suggests, "One Take" was made in just one take without even a revisit to add ad-libs so Tjay saw it fit to draw a crown. "I drew a crown," Tjay tells. "The song I really did it in one take. I went in there...I had wrote the shit, but I literally recorded it in one take."
"Remember times when the day wasn't bright/Half a pint up in a two-liter Sprite/I'ma make sure all my niggas aight," Tjay raps on the ZiggyOnTheKeyboard-produced song. "Commissary and I'm shippin' out kites/Takin' off, ’bout to book me a flight/Diamonds dancin' in the middle of night."
Before he finishes the crown painting, Tjay is sure to write "Prince of NY" at the top.
For his last painting, Tjay goes to track No. 4 on the album, "Dream That I Had." As he draws praying hands, $1 million, a house, an AP, the Rolls Royce logo and even a woman in a thong ("that's a slim thick thing!"), Tjay reveals the song is all about accomplishing his goals.
"Inspiration is basically just saying how I accomplished my goals or how I am accomplishing my goals. Like everything is a dream," he says of the JTK-produced track. "Honestly the first verse of 'Dream That I Had,' I wrote it a long time ago. I made it long a time ago and just listening back to old songs, I was like, 'Nah, I want this song to be on the album!' So if you noticed in the second verse, I started off like 'I got two first verses, I ain't had nothin'!' ’cause I was talking about plaques and I was just like, 'Damn, I want to have plaques! I want to be a successful artist one day!' At that point in time, I was just starting to get comfortable. That's really the inspiration behind this song, so this is just praying hands to show that's the type of vibes I was going through."
Watch Lil Tjay paint some tracks off his True 2 Myself album while explaining the meaning behind the songs below.
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