Tuesday 22 January 2019

Who was XXXTentacion?

And how do you pronounce his name?

Authorities say rapper-singer XXXTentacion has been fatally shot in Florida (Miami- Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department via AP)
Authorities say rapper-singer XXXTentacion has been fatally shot in Florida (Miami- Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department via AP)

Who was XXXTentacion?

The 20-year-old star, born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was gunned down in Miami, Florida on Monday, reportedly while shopping for a motorbike.

The artist (whose music encompassed multiple genres from hip hop to pop) shot to fame with his debut single Look at Me, released originally in December 2015 and re-released as a digital download in February last year.

The song has accumulated 18 million streams on Spotify and the video has garnered 50 million views on YouTube.  It caused controversy on is release for its depiction of real life killings including the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile (who was gunned down while unarmed in his car in front of his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter) and a scene in which a white child is hung on stage.

He released two studio albums, 17 and ? and was temporarily banned from Spotify’s playlists earlier this year due to its policy of not promoting artists with a history of alleged hateful conduct. 

The rapper’s work frequently features violent lyrics and themes and his personal life was also punctuated by violence from a young age.

He had a traumatic childhood as his mother, who was a teenager when he was born, was unable to raise him consistently and he spent much of his time being looked after by his grandmother and others.

However, he said he had a ‘strong’ bond with his mother and when he was just six years old he attacked a man who was trying to attack his mother.  He also said he had used violence to gain her attention, "I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me.”

His violent behaviour got him expelled from school and he was in trouble with the law throughout his teens, spending time in juvenile detention on two occasions (during one stint he reportedly attacked a fellow inmate who he thought was gay).

At the time of his death he was facing 15 felony charges for alleged incidents of domestic violence including false imprisonment, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and domestic battery by strangulation regarding his ex-girlfriend.

His music, as a ‘SoundCloud rap’ artist, revolved around issues he encountered in his life - mental illness, depression, suicide, and violence against women. 

It was when he was in prison for his alleged violent behaviour towards his ex that his profile really began to rise.  Then, while on house arrest he worked with Diplo, who took to Instagram on Monday to pay tribute, calling him a "genius" and a "true artist". 

He added, "He has his faults and we was willing to pay for his sins.. but he was young and he worked so hard on his own self . He wanted to be better. he loves everyone so much . He lived for every kid out here. He had the biggest imagination."

Drake also indirectly drew attention towards the young artist after he was accused of copying one of his beats.

XXXTentacion's second album ? debuted at number one on the Billboard chart. The lead single, Sad!, hit number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 after its release in March.

Kendrick Lamar had praised Onfroy’s album 17, which dealt with depression and mental illness, and after his death yesterday Kanye West tweeted, “Never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.”

Read more: Kanye West leads tributes to rapper XXXTentacion after fatal shooting

Rapper XXXTentacion, 20, has died after being shot in Florida, police confirm

Spotify reverses anti-hate policy that saw R Kelly removed from playlists 

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