With a relatively unheralded release, Lil Tjay and 6LACK’s “Calling My Phone” has been rapidly accumulating streams worldwide, and is even threatening to dethrone Olivia Rodrigo’s chart-dominating “Drivers License” in the U.K. The smooth R&B track has exploded onto the scene and could give each artist their highest-ever charting single, an important accolade for rising stars like themselves. While Lil Tjay dropped several singles and an EP in 2020, he has not released a full-length album since 2019’s True 2 Myself. 6LACK also released an EP in 2020, but has not dropped a complete album since 2018’s East Atlanta Love Letter.
The track’s peak is its versatile beat. With production courtesy of Non Native, Bordeaux and G. Ry, the beat contains a catchy female voice sample, crisp trap drums and expressive layered piano. The beat’s versatility comes in its ability to adapt to the distinct styles of the two artists, fitting well with both Lil Tjay’s melodic brand of juvenile trap and 6LACK’s moody, minimalist R&B sound. The brilliance of the beat allows Tjay and 6LACK to weave their vocals seamlessly around each other on the track, meshing much better than one would expect from two very dissimilar artists.
However, the song is not immune from criticism. Lil Tjay’s vocals can be classified as a bit whiny, and his lyricism — while emotional — is uncreative. Nonetheless, Lil Tjay has repeatedly shown that repetitiveness and a lack of lyricism are not massive issues for him, while reiterating how he weighs sound over lyrics. While Lil Tjay’s verse is less than his best, a stellar performance from 6LACK and a simple, yet elegant beat elevate him and the song to hit status.
Daily Arts Contributor Ryan Brace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.