XXXTentacion: Hip Hop’s Most Controversial Artist Debuts ’17’ (Review)

If you look closely inside Launderhill, Florida you’ll find a 19-year-old artist known as the most controversial XXL Freshman, and recently garnered a co-sign from Kendrick Lamar on his debut album 17. His name isJahseh Dwayne Onfroy, better known by his stage name XXXTentacion.

Story | Matthew Gonzalez

Image | via Bad Vibes Forever / EMPIRE

Though X is known for his absurd lyricism in hip hop, his debut project 17 touches on the tenacity of depression, suicide, and mental health (or lack thereof) over melancholic alternative rock records. His opener “Explanation” solidifies that this album is dedicated for those suffering from depression.

“I do not value your money/I value your acceptance and loyalty”

“Jocelyn Flores” pays homage to a friend he lost to suicide, and his post-traumatic stress over that loss. From there “Depression & Obsession” ventures onto toxic relationships and how it adds weight to his mental illness.

On “Revenge” he describes getting pegged as a women beater. Pitchfork reported that he allegedly “punched and kicked” his pregnant girlfriend at the time of the assault, stating “Victim’s eyes [were] punched to where both eyes became shut and victim could not see,” and eventually was imprisoned for multiple felony charges.

“Can’t pretend that I was perfect, leaving you in fear/ Oh man, what a world, the things I hear/ If I could act on my revenge, then, oh, would I?”

Other personal favorites include “Everyone Dies in their Nightmares” which materializes his battles with suicide, and “Fuck Love” where X describes his emotional heartbreak, mental trauma, the feeling of lost love. The last song “Ayala (Outro)” is dedicated to his ex, Geneva Ayala, the one who he is accused of assaulting.

Ex-girlfriend aside, there’s other reasons as to why XXXTentacion is seemingly deep in depression. According to an interview with No Jumper, his relationship with his mother was at rock bottom. However, at 6-years-old he plunged a glass shard into a man whom he believe was threatening his mother, and also got expelled in middle school for punting the mouth of a kid who had made fun of her.

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He describes himself as a “young savage,” who has been charged for armed robbery, armed burglary, possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, three charges of grand theft, and oxycodone possession.

While in jail he met rappers Ski Mask the Slump God, and later teamed up with Wifisfuneral and Craig Xen to form the rap crew Members Only.

As a rapper who’s made himself a leader in pop culture, he’s bringing awareness towards multiple social issues: untreated mental toxicity, pain, and suffering feeling the lack of love and affection. 17 is for anyone who feels alone, unwelcome and unneeded.

Prior to the release of his debut album, X posted a video on Instagram​ where he appears to be hanging himself. The short clip was met with criticism, saying that it promoted suicide​. X responded by posting another video on Instagram (for an upcoming music video) with the caption: “If you thought I would ‘pretend’ to kill myself for a publicity stunt, you’re f*cking stupid.”

Howdy, I am Matthew. I write sometimes and I sit at The Lunch Table.

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