I didn’t really know who XXXTENTACION was until I read a HotNewHipHop article about a young Florida rapper who was arrested for multiple reasons. All I knew about him was the now-famous mugshot of XXX. However, after sitting in one of my friends cars and unwillingly had to listen to the unmastered, Cloud-Rappers’ (short) discography, I was taken aback. I had a feeling in my stomach that I had felt before and I knew instantly what it was.
I don’t think XXX has found his complete sound, or is even a talented lyricist, however, he is already showing elements of being the next Chief Keef. Obviously, Chief Keef’s career has been slipping lower and lower, following much-publicised legal woes and an inconsistent release of music. However, much like Keef, XXX’s aim to enter the industry is sadly delayed. While he has released on Soundcloud and YouTube over 30 tracks and gathering over millions of plays, his career is hanging more on the line of the law than the industry.
XXX’s music is psychedelic, aggressive, HARD AF and most of all, HYPE.
The first song I heard was “Look At Me!”. No, not because Drake, snaked his flow (typical), but because, fuck, it’s just so fucking raw. The distortion of the beat, the aggression of XXX’s vocals and the amazing loop of the creepiest vocal sample. XXX sounds hungry and passionate about his outtake on music. While his lyrics are banal, uninteresting and not that mind-provoking, how could you not want to fucking throw everything in your site out windows and just mosh forever to it?
“Vice City”, the first track to appear on X’s Soundcloud page uses a sample of a woman singing, with raspy drums and a flow similar to that of British Grime MC’s. “Lets Pretend We’re Numb” is also undeniably one of the most cohesive and thought-out tracks I’ve heard from XXX. “Alone” is another track that show the diversity in XXX’s ear for production, for his own sonic sound. The lyrics on this track are dark and the song could’ve easily been used for a short scene in a horror film.
Looking through his minimal discography of tracks and ‘snippets’ of XXX, there is a clear idea and theme that the rapper is trying to put across. Combining the aesthetic of Anime, using lo-fi samples to create head-banging singles and incorporating a variety of genres; from Jazz and Rock to R&B and Hip-Hop, XXX has to be one of the creatively diverse unsigned artists in today’s industry.