Underneath it all, the posthumous album from the Florida rapper is woefully aimless and structurally unsound.
At the center of the Jahseh Onfroy story is his domestic violence case, which was never tried but, after his death, is now closed. Before he was shot and killed in an attempted robbery earlier this year, the 20-year-old rapper known as XXXTentacion was accused of physically and mentally abusing his then-girlfriend, terrorizing her, and holding her against her will. He faced charges that included aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering. According to arrest reports, the victim was punched to the point where her eyes were forced shut.
The charges raised against X didn’t prevent him from becoming one of rap’s most popular new stars, and his death only complicates the conversations surrounding the music of an incredibly polarizing figure. In the aftermath, questions are raised about its lasting impact and how his murder at the age of 20 might change the way he is remembered. Will his art be treated as sacrosanct? In an attempt to rehabilitate his image, Onfroy’s mother started a nonprofit called the XXXTentacion Foundation to provide “relief [for] the poor, distressed and of the underprivileged.” It’s difficult to square this sensationalized, supposedly kind-hearted version of Onfroy with the one recorded admitting to stabbing eight people, the one who allegedly had a woman “scared for her life,” the one who noted, “I will kill that bitch if she play with me.”