In music, it’s easy for fans to get lost in the talent of an artist. However, there are moments where love for an artist can be tested by what they do outside of their craft. This often leads to the question: Can you support an artist with major flaws?
For many people, this may be the fork in the road for rising rapper XXXTentacion. The Florida rapper has flourished this year with his hit single “Look At Me” going platinum, receiving co-signs from beloved artists like Kendrick Lamar and being named to this year’s XXL Magazine Freshman List.
Percolating in the background of his success are assault allegations that were made before XXTentacion became famous. In September, Pitchfork published visceral details about the relationship between XXTentacion and his alleged victim from a court transcript documenting her testimony earlier in the year.
Not only did the transcript indicate that there were multiple incidents which grew worse as time moved on from the time they met, but the victim’s ex-boyfriend, his mother, and the police officer all attested to the accusations.
According to Pitchfork, “XXXTentacion head-butted her [the victim], punched her, stomped on her, and put her in the bathtub, where he continued hitting and kicking her.. She tried to run away down the street. He tackled her, causing her head to hit the pavement. She suffered black eyes, a lump on the back of her head, scratch marks, and bruises, including a large bruise on her ankle where he stomped her.”
XXXTentacion laughed away the allegations days after the article was published.
“Imma F*ck Your Little Sisters in their throats, I swear to God. Everybody that calls me a domestic abuser, I’m finna domestically abuse your sister’s p*ssy from the back.”
The rapper also posted this to his Instagram account:
“I’m sensitive because I refuse to accept a reality for myself that is not my own, I will not have fabricated stories pushed on me, and have people trying to make me submissive off some shit I ain’t do, I’m good.
“If you’re not with me, keep my name out your mouth. It’s not that hard, or if you’ve realized that my name is power, you should use it positively so I can shed a little light on you.”
XXXTentacion’s original court date was set for Oct. 5, but delayed because of a hectic schedule and his lawyer wouldn’t make the witnesses available. But for now, the world watched him rock a trippy mask at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
The rapper shines thanks to a musical style that’s not only dark, but also showcases a diverse palette that is (sometimes) overlooked. It’s very easy to summarize XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me,” as just another trap record, but that would be lazy. He shows pain and aggression through songs like “FXCK” but manages to throw other genres in the mix like working with Diplo for the track “looking for a star” in June, which now has over 11 million plays on Soundcloud.
After releasing his debut album 17 in August, alongside a plethora of competition including Lil Uzi, Daniel Caesar, Action Bronson, and many other artists, X’s album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. It manages to continue showcasing his palette while manifesting itself in a dark and depressing ambience filled with stories of dread as the album plays on.
XXXTentacion has came a long way from where he was in January, but his past still looms over his growth through a legal trial that’s far more disturbing. As of now, the rapper is on probation following a charge for home invasion and battery with a firearm, but is currently facing charges for allegations of domestic violence with his then pregnant girlfriend.
XXXTentacion is not the only artist to flourish in music and entertainment as allegations and court cases brew in the background. Bill Cosby’s legal situation is still present even after his sexual assault case ended as a mistrial in June, R Kelly is facing more scrutiny after a woman alleged he was operating a “sex cult” and Rick James was convicted of kidnapping a woman.
The official video for XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me” currently has over 17 million views on YouTube and his following is growing as his career continues to move forward.
The issue is for me is that it’s difficult to listen to when that pain revealed on the album may not just be limited to wax.