By: Celia Borg
It was a somber day in hip-hop on Monday for fans of south Florida rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in an attempted robbery. The rapper whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot outside of a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach a city located in Broward County, Florida. He was 20 years old.
Onfroy, who was best known for hit songs “SAD!” and “Look At Me” was a controversial figure in the hip-hop community after allegations of aggravated battery and assault on pregnant girlfriend at-the-time Geneva Ayala and other various violent offenses against women. His past left hip-hop fans hesitant of the young rapper. However, it did not stop the world from enjoying his music as XXXTentacion became the 10th spot winner chosen by fans for the 2017 XXL Magazine “Freshman” cover.
After news of his death, other hip-hop community members and close friends of X’s showed an outpour of post and tweets remembering him. This includes other south Florida rappers and close friends of X’s such as this year’s XXL “Freshmen” Ski Mask, the Slump God, and wifisfuneral, as well as Trippie Redd, Lil Pump, and Smokepurpp. Ski Mask, who came up with X during their climb into the industry, posted on Instagram on Monday with a picture of him and Onfroy stating, “I love you, I’m sorry for everything, forever Jahseh f***ing forever.”
Onfroy began his musical journey in 2013 when he met another aspiring rapper from Broward County, Ski Mask the Slump God. After being released from doing a stint in the juvenile detention center, he continued to make music where he created the persona that is XXXTentacion. He began to release projects in 2014 up until early 2016, collaborating with Ski Mask and releasing music with an extreme heavy metal and indie influence.
He released the song “Look At Me!” on Soundcloud, which blew up while the rapper was locked up on the charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, causing him to be away for 8 months. Within those months, “Look At Me” and Onfroy becoming infamous, as XXXTentacion was one of the most talked about rappers in the following year.
After his release and freshman cover, Onfroy released a mixtape entitled “Revenge” and studio albums, “17” and “?” which was released in March 2018. XXXTentacion was categorized as a new wave rapper however can easily be defined as one of the forefathers of emo hip-hop, a new sub-genre of hip hop that blends alternative-sounding vocals and hip hop beats that became popularized by X and also recently deceased rapper Lil Peep. Though he could make a song with many lyrical bars, he could also change it up where some songs had a heavy rock, punk or indie influence. He was easily one of the most versatile younger rappers to come out within the last several years.
Though he only lived until 20, X was an artist of his time. He was deeply controversial and troubled, however musically brilliant. Despite the fact that we cannot bring him back, songs like “Jocelyn Flores”, “Everybody Dies in Their Nightmares,” or “Moonlight” will forever continue to inspire fans as his legacy lives on.