Last year, two haunted young sing-rappers — Polo G, 21, from Chicago, and Lil Tjay, 17, from the Bronx — teamed up for a mournful, meditative song about showing up at your party to rob you. At least, that’s what the song was about on the surface. If you looked deeper, “Pop Out” had all sorts of heavy insights about living with trauma alongside its hypnotic hooks. The song was a big hit, peaking just outside the top 10, and it anchored Polo G’s debut Die A Legend, my favorite rap album of last year. Today, Polo G and Lil Tjay have followed up that song, collaborating once again.
As far as we know, the new collaboration “First Place” is, at least for now, just a one-off collab, not part of a forthcoming project. The two of them trade off lines over a hazy, jangilng electric-guitar loop from producer Ayo, both of them slipping between flexes and laments so easily that they become the same thing.
“First Place” doesn’t have the same immediate impact as “Pop Out,” But Polo and Tjay clearly have chemistry. The two of them complement each other nicely, with Tjay’s keening tenor nicely offsetting Polo’s husky mutter-croon. And they’re both clearly on the same heavy-hearted wavelength. It would be cool to hear more collaborations from these two. Listen to “First Place” below.
“First Place” is out now on the streaming services.