Lil Tjay – “Destined 2 Win” review

Lil Tjay is a 19 year old rapper, singer & songwriter from The Bronx, New York that got his start by releasing singles on SoundCloud in 2017. This resulted in him signing to Columbia Records the following year & since then, Tjay has dropped a full-length debut as well as 3 EPs. But coming fresh off the 2020 XXL Freshman Class last summer, the kid is following it up by putting out a sophomore album.

The titular opener heavily samples “Who Gets Your Love?” by Margie Joseph as Tjay pretty much says he won’t stop until he comes out on top, but then the next song “Born 2 Be Great” is a dysphoric-sounding ballad about him not letting anyone say he ain’t shit. “Call My Phone” with 6LACK serves as a boring R&B crooner about them being unable to get these women off their mind whereas “What You Wanna Do?” opens up about being sick of playing games with his lover over an instrumental sampling “ONE MAN ARMY” by Melvoni.

The song “Hood Rich” is a piano trap banger with lyrics about his hopes of wanting to accomplish something while “Oh Well” continues to delve into the sounds of the previous cut except Tjay is spitting some gang shit. “Headshot” with Polo G & Fivio Foreign goes into a more violin/drill direction as the trio brag & get malevolent whereas “Gang Gang” piggybacks off keyboard loops as he reps his squad.

The track “Go Crazy” proclaims himself as a progressor over a signature 808 Melo instrumental while “Irregular Love” is a minimally-produced pop rap joint about how his relationship is abnormal. The song “Move” doesn’t sound too bad given the raunchy lyrics that Saweetie & Tyga deliver alongside the stripped-back trap beat from OG Parker & G-Ry, but it didn’t need to be on this album since Tjay hardly has any presence in it.

“Slow Down” expresses a desire to get to know your lover with a cloud rap instrumental from Cassius Jay, but then “Love Hurts” is a tedious anthem about making a relationship work & the Toosii verse doesn’t help either. The song “Run It Up” with Moneybagg Yo & Offset is of course a bland, materialism tune whereas the jangly “Part of the Plan” speaks about focusing on music.

“No Cap” speaks from the heart albeit the instrumental is comatose as Hell while “Life Changed” is an airily-produced joint about moving on to better things. “Nuf Said” sounds like a short, loose freestyle backed by a spacious beat from Jahaan Sweet while “Losses” is one of Tjay’s best songs ever as the pain he expresses throughout is so powerful.

The penultimate track “Move On” sounds like it was ripped off from the BEAUTIFUL THUGGER GIRLS playbook from it’s country/trap production to the lyrics about a relationship coming to an end & finally, the closer “None of Your Love” takes shots at his exes over a synth-laced instrumental from CashMoneyAP.

I haven’t been a big fan of Tjay’s work up to this point & Destined 2 Win doesn’t really help change that because to me, it’s just another mediocre album from him. His personality definitely shines a lot more than it did on previous efforts, but the production choices are very hit or miss & a good portion of the love songs fall flat on their face.

Score: 2.5/5

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