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Meaning of the song ‘June 22nd’ by ‘Lil Tjay’

Released: 2023

“June 22nd” by Lil Tjay is a candid narrative taking the listener through a typical day in Tjay’s life. The song explores themes of street life, paranoia, and the overlapping worlds of fame and danger. Tjay peels back the layers of his psyche, presenting a stark contrast between his ambitious, hustling artist persona and his lived reality that remains entrenched in the street life.

“Woke up in the morning, paranoid, my heater tucked/It’s a calm day, time to tee it up” brings us immediately into Tjay’s survivalist mindset. “My heater tucked” signifies he woke up with his firearm, a stark reminder that despite fame, his reality still involves potential danger. “Calm day” signals that, despite his daunting morning routine, he’s focused and prepared to face the day.

The lyric “He said, ‘You want Trish or Keisha?’ I said, ‘Nigga, what you think?'” showcases Tjay’s perspective toward his drug use and his preference for substances, coded here as “Trish or Keisha.” Notably, Tjay highlights the paranoia brought about by his lifestyle, as he expresses concern over being followed and potential conflicts with rival factions (opp’s in urban lingo).

As we follow his narrative, we’re taken on to verses filled with Tjay’s attempts to balance his roots (“I ain’t really with no security, I’m on some muscles shit”) with his growing fame (“Show’s lined up, album’s soundin’ like some crack”). Despite his success in the music industry, Tjay feels bound to his street origins and its accompanying tensions and dangers. The poignant lyric, “Fuck around and lose my life just for hangin’ with lil’ niggas”, points to the high stakes that come with remaining part of his old world while forging a path in his new one.

“I’m finna go to Paris, really, in a couple hours,” Tjay informs us of an exciting opportunity. His success affords him international travel, a far cry from his harsh upbringing. But even as he expands his horizons, the street life’s specter remains. Tjay expresses apprehension over his travels, underlying the constant tension between his current reality and his painful past.

In the final verses, Tjay seems unable to escape the paranoia and tension, ending with the ominous, “Now there’s someone in my rear.” Despite a day filled with recording sessions and planning international trips, Tjay’s narrative returns to where it started — a lonely street, eyes peeled for danger, and a gun at his side. It’s these little snapshots of reality – gritty, unglamorous and brutally honest – which give “June 22nd” its potent narrative punch.

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