The Bronx rapper was shot seven times by an armed robber outside a Chipotle in Edgewater, New Jersey in June 2022 — an attack that left him in a coma for five days and required emergency surgery to remove a bullet that was lodged in his neck.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Tjay opened up about the scary ordeal and recalled a phone call he received from 50 Cent — who also famously survived a hail of bullets early in his career — while he was recovering in hospital.
“Every artist needs pain or something to feed off of. This right here, you shake this shit off,” Tjay recalled 50 telling him over the phone from a jet. “You got the length for greatness. You going to be bigger than ever.”
The Power mogul remained a big brother figure for Lil Tjay in the months after the shooting, with the two being pictured hanging out backstage at a Motion Picture & Television Fund benefit concert — where 50 Cent performed alongside Snoop Dogg, Tony Yayo and others — in Los Angeles in September.
Tjay later dropped a remix of 50’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ track “Many Men” called “FACESHOT,” on which he channeled the G-Unit general’s bulletproof defiance by addressing the culprit who almost killed him.
“I know many men out there wanna get me, tell ’em bend again/ Never on no scary shit, not afraid like Eminem/ Singin’ n-gga, but you sleep on me that be your flaw/ Lettin’ me live that was stupid, must think one plus two is four,” he rapped.
Elsewhere in his Rolling Stone interview, Lil Tjay spoke about coming down with a near-lethal fever in hospital, recording his comeback single “Beat the Odds” while doctors were still draining blood out of his lungs, and how the experience has profoundly changed his outlook on life.
“I got airlifted into the sky at 2:22, and it was June 22, 2022,” he said. “When I searched those numbers, it was like ‘God’s giving you the opportunity to change.’ I questioned God before that. I don’t anymore. I know God’s real, a billion percent.”
He added: “I’m not on no tough-guy shit, or on some angel shit. I feel like a miracle kid. I feel like my purpose is bigger than I know. I’m just trying to figure out what life got in store for me. I know that I’m destined to win.”
A 27-year-old man named Mohamed Konate was arrested shortly after the shooting. Konate, who also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, allegedly approached Tjay’s vehicle, demanded jewelry and then began firing a gun. Two of Tjay’s friends were also in the car, one of whom was shot as well.
The suspect has been charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder, three counts of first-degree armed robbery, and multiple weapons-related offences.