Artist. Rapper. Rockstar. Savior. Inspiration. Therapist.
These are all words that could have been used to describe Jahseh Onfroy, also known as XXXTentacion. This is certainly not the first time you are reading or hearing about his death, but I really wanted to write an article about his life and the influence he had on the hip hop scene as we know it today. It is heartbreaking what happened to X and he absolutely did not deserve it no matter what you think and I don’t want to hear any slander to his name. The short lived life of Jahseh Onfroy has made a lasting impact that will ring through the bells of hip hop and the hearts of the youth for centuries to come.
Starting his public career in 2013, X began his path through a series of different music that would constantly be evolving and changing. This would become a staple of his name, and an idea that he took to his heart. His early era revolved around the underground, grunge SoundCloud scene. He often blended elements of rap and metal that combined parts of the emerging Southern Florida scene can still be identified throughout the platform today. As he developed to a more well rounded artist, he began to grow towards the melodic hip hop sound that we had really began to hear from him in the past year or so. His first studio album “17” was unlike anything we had ever heard from him, giving a sound to the depression that not only he faced, but many of his listeners faced. He continued with this sort of style as he evolved to his second studio album “?” released March of 2018. Through both of these albums, he had achieved pinnacle chart numbers with “SAD!” and “Jocelyn Flores” proving to the world that his desire to be unique and in touch with the youth wasn’t taken lightly and very much appreciated. It is obvious through his discography ranging from the intense “Look at Me!” to the sorrowful ballad of “Jocelyn Flores” to the boom bap NY style “infinity (888)”, that originality and diversity in music was no challenge for XXXTentacion.
Amongst X’s earliest exposure on the podcast run by Adam22, “No Jumper” it was clear that his mind was a little more violent and rage filled than a so called typical person. However, he made it clear that his overall intent was positivity and unification for the youth, and world even, which he proved up until his last days. His perceived aggression combined with his troubled past and family issues, landed his name in a sour spotlight many times, whether it be true or not. It sometimes seemed as if the world was against him, whether it be the law and prison, or immense amounts of hate he received daily, despite changing many people’s lives.
One of the most admirable traits of X was his ability to help and inspire others. This took the form of fans, friends, or other artists. Uncountable amounts of fans have credited X’s music as life changing or even life saving, helping them with issues of depression. X’s ability to be his entire self without any censorship or care for what others have to say was mind blowing to many. These traits, among many others helped him gain approval from icons in the rap game such as A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar
It’s no surprise that the death of XXXTentacion has already had a massive effect on the entirety of social culture within 48 hours. He has been a living manifestation of what it means to follow your dreams while being yourself, even through all of the internal demons you might face. His death, or life for that matter, is one that will never be forgotten.