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Music Video Breakdown: 'Losses' by Lil Tjay

Lil Tjay in his music video for "Losses"
Lil Tjay in his music video for "Losses" By Courtesy of Lil Tjay/VEVO
By Daniel S. de Castro, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 30, NY rapper Lil Tjay released the music video for his latest song, “Losses.”

With the first note of the song’s despondent melody, the video cuts to a shot of Lil Tjay sitting on the hood of an expensive-looking sedan in front of a storefront lit by warm yellow and orange neon lights. It is night. With each ensuing note, the video cuts to a new scene of Lil Tjay enjoying himself at a party or strolling with his affectionate girlfriend; all appears to be well and good in the young rapper’s life.

This notion is dispelled as the beat drops and Lil Tjay begins to sing the first chorus, with the storefront shot now alternating with shots that tell a story more reflective of the themes of loss and hardship that characterize the song. Lil Tjay is seen walking happily with his girlfriend and texting his friends to make plans. His friends are then shown arriving before they all jump in his G-Wagen, and the shots continue to cycle rather quickly. At this point, well into the first verse, there is a noticeable shift towards cooler, more melancholy green-blue lighting, a change that becomes more pronounced as the song progresses.

As Lil Tjay nears the end of the first verse, he and his friends, now driving in the G-Wagen, are forced into an alley by masked rivals on motorcycles. In the storefront scenes, still spliced into the story, the young rapper begins to grow more pensive and quietly emotional — he is even at points shown with his head down deep in thought, not even singing. His eyes reveal fatigue and pain as he laments all the “goddamn losses” that he’s taken on his path to success.

In the alleyway, Lil Tjay is forced out of the SUV at gunpoint, but his friend draws his own pistol on the adversaries, and a standoff ensues. As the chorus of the song plays, the lack of a drumbeat adds to the tension and expectant stillness of the scene, and the melody foreshadows the tragedy to come. The standoff continues into the second verse, but the tension eventually reaches a boiling point, and the guns go off moments before Lil Tjay switches up the flow and the drums kick back in.

Lil Tjay and his friends then make their escape to an apartment lit in teal. Here, shots of the young rapper scrambling to help his wounded friend — his shirt now being used as an improvised tourniquet, his friends desperate and arguing about what to do next — alternate with those showing him rapping forcefully, almost cathartically, in front of a mirror.

As the outro begins to play, Lil Tjay seems to lose energy and hope and looks almost defeated as he continues to sing to himself in front of the mirror, before a newsreel about the shooting is shown on screen. The song fades out as Lil Tjay is arrested for the events of the previous night; it seems no amount of success can amend the losses he is still forced to face.

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