XXXTentacion Dead at 20

X at Rolling Loud
I'm not too sure where I want to start this piece because of who XXXTentacion was. I was a big fan of his when I first heard him in early 2016, a few months after he released "Look at Me!" The things that transpired after were hard to stomach and I lost nearly all respect for him. But I don't think that really mattered to him. He knew that he would always have a crazy fanbase that was going to be there for him until the day he died.

The allegations against him were horrible. It's hard to know whether things happened the way they were reported based on completely different accounts from both sides. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would say that X beat the shit out of that girl. He wasn't a great guy, but I don't think anyone should have been trying to paint him that way. Forget a broken home, he came from a broken life. This interview done by the No Jumper podcast showed just how absurdly poor his childhood was.

Growing up in a situation where you would beat up other kids just to get your loved ones to speak to you is a recipe for disaster. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for his awful behavior, because I'm not. He probably should have kept in jail when he was sent there the first few times. Some people who have been affected by domestic abuse took to Twitter to remind his fans of the allegations against him, in what seemed to be an absurd disregard for loss of human life.

Every time we get a polarizing figure like X, I struggle to separate art from the artist. People are quick to dismiss X as a woman-beater but jam out whenever they hear Chris Brown. They never turn the station when Michael Jackson comes on. They are the same ones who watch Floyd Mayweather and rep Money Team. They are also the same people who show their kids Pirates of the Carribean and paint Johnny Depp as a role model. It really all comes down to how you want to separate the person who gives you great art from the person they are when no one is looking.

Moving over to his musical career, X proved that genre-infused rap could be wildly successful at the mainstream level. I originally loved his music because of the hard rock influences. The vibe of his music was pretty much unmatched by any of the other conventional rappers who were popular. He took a give-no-shit attitude and made that his calling card. He did what he wanted, said what he wanted, and rarely gave an apology for it.

His performance of "Look at Me!" at Rolling Loud in 2017 showed that he could be an all-out rockstar. He was surfing around the crowd, screaming the words, and everyone around him was going absolutely insane. That's the type of star power that you don't really see a lot of, and it's a shame that this talent was wasted.

To coincide with his crazy stage presence, the streaming numbers he amassed were insane. He celebrated one billion of them just a few months after his album "?" dropped. Those are the type of numbers that the Drakes and Kendricks of the world put up. My mouth dropped when I realized that the dude who used to have a few hundred thousand Soundcloud plays was now nearing the top of almost every conceivable measure of music success.

The video of X slumped over, dead in his car while people were recording it on Snapchat made me sick. Only one dude went over to check his pulse, but by that time, everyone had waited so long that the life in the car with the suicide doors had faded away. No one pulled him out to check the extent of his injuries. He died alone in a sports car worth more than most Americans and no one even made an attempt to save his life. It's infuriating.

X had a tattoo that said "Alone" above his eyebrow. Depression and loneliness were common themes in his music and I'm sure that it helped people feel less alone. Hearing someone that you enjoy talk about the same struggle that you are going through can be comforting.

"Being alone really makes you realize all you got is yourself," he said in a previous Facebook post.

XXXTentacion had demons that were bigger than most. His demons overshadowed his body of work that so many people grew to love and appreciate. You can call him a shitty guy and dismiss his career and I won't be mad at you. Just don't say that he deserved to be murdered in cold blood when he had his whole life to live. Whether that life would have been spent rotting behind bars or in the public eye trying to change his life is something that will always be a disappointing question because the answer is: he never lived long enough for us to find out.

Rest in peace XXXTentacion.


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