It looked like it was going to be a big summer for Bronx hip-hop star Lil Tjay.
Tjay, aka 21-year old Tione Merritt, dropped a tease for a new single, “Stressed,” on June 8, had a European music festival tour lined up for later this month and July, and was scheduled to play the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park in American Dream on July 22.
“Dis gon be a good summer…,” posted Tjay on social media.
That seemingly changed in the early morning hours Wednesday, June 22, when he was one of two who were shot at The Promenade shopping center in Edgewater, according to TMZ. Tjay, whose real name is Tione Merritt, is undergoing emergency surgery, according to TMZ, citing law enforcement sources.
“Pray for my lil bro lil Tjay,” tweeted hip-hop star French Montana with praying hands emoji.
“Not Lil TJay y’all pray for bro,” tweeted Miles Bridges of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
Lil Tjay is a rising hip-hop heartthrob who previously sampled Justin Bieber on his track “None of Your Love.”
He’s been called the Bronx Justin Bieber.
“In my songs I just write about what I feel,” said Tjay to Pitchfork. “Like, who really going to love me for the person I am besides just being Lil Tjay?”
He has released two albums for Columbia Records, his 2019 debut “True 2 Myself” and “Destined 2 Win” in 2021.
His latest single, “In My Head,” was dropped in April. It features Tjay’s sing-song rhyming framed by an Auto Tune and a mid-tempo trap beat.
The video, which ironically features Tjay in an emergency room hospital, has been viewed more than 15 million times. Check it out above.
“Please Tjay stay with us please,” commented a fan on YouTube. “It’s to early for u to pass all the stuff u have yet to achieve is just within (hands praying emoji) don’t let this (blank) pull you down.”
Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com.