XXXTentacion’s posthumous album concludes short lived career

XXXTentacions posthumous album concludes short lived career

XXXTentacion’s posthumous album concludes short lived career

By Peter Zemeske

Controversial Floridian rapper, XXXTentacion generated more headlines than one could keep track of while he was alive, and continues to make headlines with a posthumous album, “SKINS,” after his tragic murder in June of 2018. XXXTentacion made it difficult for one to separate art from the artist with his abusive past. Growing up he had violent tendencies and dropped out of high school during his sophomore year. Before his rise to fame, XXXTentacion was charged with home invasion, robbery and aggravated battery, according to court documents. In 2016, he allegedly beat his then girlfriend and threatened to kill her often. Many hip-hop fans rejected his music because of these allegations, but many others saw a troubled teen writing lyrics from the heart. XXXTentacion was a leader in the emo-rap subgenre, incorporating dark instrumentation with emotional lyrics dealing with thoughts of suicide and heartbreak.

As with XXXTentacion’s previous albums, “17” and “?,” the first track on the album “Introduction” has a robotic voice rather than X’s introducing the album. Like the previous two intros, the voice informs listeners they are entering X’s mind. “Guardian Angel” acts a successor to the song “Jocelyn Flores” off of “17.” The reversed vocals in the beginning is the chorus in “Jocelyn Flores” set in reverse. The rest of the lyrics are presumably outtakes of the original song and reveal X’s emotions when reflecting on his friend’s suicide. Most of the instrumentals on “SKINS” are either imitating the production heard on X’s other albums or samples from other artists. The track “whoa (mind in awe)” features a sample of electronic producer, SPEECHLESS’s song “Shangri-La.” The tracks on the album run very brief, with an average runtime of two minutes. The song “BAD!”,which closely resembles X’s hit song “SAD!”, is the lead single on “SKINS” and is only a minute and a half long. “STARING AT THE SKY” offers a break from the mellow, somber beats and contains a heavy metal riff over X doing his best metal growl, saying “run from your pain.” The albums only feature is on “One Minute” with Kanye West. West raps over a another metal inspired beat about how the media only focuses on the negative headlines generated by X but don’t understand the pain tormenting him. The song has a rather ugly message toward the end, as West says “the defendant is guilty, no one blames the plaintiff.” This is in reference to X’s alleged domestic abuse of his girlfriend and puts blames on her for his violence. This is a horrible thing to suggest, because victims should never be blamed for violence against them.

Fans of X’s music will most likely enjoy this as a comforting sentiment about depression, but casual listeners should understand this album is a reworking of leftover snippets of lyrics and beats from previous works. “SKINS” doesn’t offer much in the way of new thoughts or sounds. Those out there hoping to find an escape from a depression should look elsewhere.