SZA and Lil Tjay

Jeff Kravitz / Contributor via Getty Images and Frazer Harrison / Staff via Getty Images

"I Punked Out": SZA On Lil Tjay's "Calling My Phone" Leak

  /  06.10.2023

SZA has recently been caught in the swirl of ambivalence following the unexpected leak of her verse on Lil Tjay’s 2021 single “Calling My Phone.” Not officially featured on the track, her verse was never submitted, leading fans to wonder why such a sterling contribution didn’t make it into the final release of the album Destined 2 Win.

On Friday (June 9), The Missouri-born artist candidly addressed her fans on Twitter, articulating her mixed emotions about the unsanctioned leak: “Lmao as for the ‘Calling My Phone’ verse, I’m mad y’all leaked it but glad y’all liked it. I punked out of turning it in… happens a lot, actually. I be feeling like I can’t add anything to songs that are already fire. Respect to Lil Tjay + 6LACK.”

A fan promptly sought to lift her spirits, pointing out the strength of her writing. In response, SZA explained her hesitancy was borne not from self-doubt but respect for the integrity of the song: “It’s more a respect thing to the artist! I literally only wanna give the best of me, especially if the song is already popular. If I can’t magnify it, I fall back.”

6LACK, who was also featured on the single, shared his appreciation for SZA’s verse with a cheeky comment: “Ngl, I listened with my hands over my ears [because] it felt like a sin. Sound like butter, tho.” The TDE songstress replied with humble appreciation: “Lmao please, you know how it beee. Y’all ATE. I appreciate you, king.”

Lil Tjay also chimed in, expressing his delight over SZA’s verse and enticing her with the prospect of another collaboration: “Mannnnnn, I got some s**t better for you rn. You know that’s what they want! SZA,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Calling My Phone,” although absent of SZA’s contribution, found resounding success, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and gaining a 4x platinum certification from the RIAA. However, the potential missed opportunity doesn’t seem to have dented the singer’s stride. Last year saw the release of her second studio album, SOS. It was arguably among the biggest releases of 2022 with tracks like “Kill Bill,” “Shirt,” and “Snooze.”

TDE President Terrence “Punch” Henderson recently noted SZA’s maturing approach to fame in an interview with the “Rap Radar Podcast.” According to him, she’s finding her balance and beginning to reconcile her persona, SZA, with her real-life identity, Solána. “I think she’s adjusting a lot better now,” he said. “I think it’s finally starting to set in as to what’s going on and who she is.”

Check out the music video for “Calling My Phone” below.

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