XXXTentacion was murdered yesterday and I believe that he was a great and talented musician, controversy aside. I’ve done a few pieces on him in the past and decided to combine into this post as a tribute and farewell to the musician. I understand he may not have been the best person or even a “good” person but one cannot say he wasn’t an important musician and influence on modern music. Here is all of my previous work on XXXTentacion. I would like to thank individuals such as Andrew, Terrell, Brandy, Alex M., and Keiyana for getting me into and reminding me of the importance and influence that XXXTentacion had.
Expression (August 28, 2017)
Music is an ever-changing art; always adapting to reflect the thoughts and feelings of the creator. More recently, we’ve seen musicians be more open with themselves and their true feelings on the record and off. Having a musician open up about their lives and hardships makes them more relatable and gives their fans a physical-being to resonate with instead of an abstract piece of art.
The means of expression through music is across every genre because it is needed to connect with those who listen to the art. Chester Bennington was one of the musicians who were always more open about his life than others, which lead to his music becoming more of a representation of feelings rather than pure thought. With his recent passing, it is plausible to see how his music could serve as his vessel for expression of feelings and possible cry for help. This unfortunate loss is another reminder that just because someone is rich and famous, it doesn’t equate to happiness.
More recently, rappers have come forward and have used their talent to express how they really feel about their private life and public life. XXXTentacion has become one of the newest artists to be expressive, sincere, and open with his fans through music. Even if these larger-than-life musicians may live far from ordinary lives, they still face common problems. These problems could range anywhere from depression, heartbreak or simply not knowing what their purpose in life is. These topics are just a few of the many that these musicians share with their fans and the rest of the world.
This month saw the release of XXXTentacion’s debut album 17, this 22-minute project is the pinnacle of expression for an artist of his stature. The album whilst short provides hours upon hours of content to dwell on after the first listen. This album directly aims for the heart and mind when it comes to lyricism; each song sets out to tell a story and seek a resolution within their two or three-minute duration. The biggest strength of this album is the telling of pure emotion and heartfelt pain that is evidently presented through this medium to help educate and inform his fans of not only his own pain but to show that it is acceptable to speak openly about personal issues.
Musicians with this talent to create art reflective of their thoughts is what makes the genre worth listening to. Artists like XXXTentacion are leading the way for a new generation of rapper’s, this new generation is paving for a new style by simply telling the cold-hearted truth about their problems. With every music release seeming more like a therapy appointment between the artist and listener, it is easy to see why this format works as much as it does. Anyone can write lines about their day and how they feel but it takes a certain degree of devotion to transform the bars to emotion-provoking songs.
The genre of rap has seen many bright and talented members over the years and continues to grow in size, impact, and talent every day; but this decade has seen the rise of some of the brightest and most promising individuals of all time. The key to their success is their dedication to the expression of their thoughts and feelings especially those thoughts that reflect the current state of social issues in the world. The expression of emotion is the most important factor when making music and needs to be exploited for the sake of creating beautiful works of art.
Expression Pt. 2 – ? (March 16, 2018)
One of the more controversial figures of modern music has made his intentions clear with his newest album titled ?. XXXTentacion has had a rough start whether it be from Drake, legal issues, or even betrayal. Even with a bumpy origin and difficult career, XXXTentacion has been creating some of the most out-there music lately. His unique take on music has seen him ranging from aggressive to sad often, however, on ? his full potential is realized. XXXTentacion is arguably one of the most talented musicians in modern music, but why?
XXXTentacion originally got famous off of “Look At Me”, which is a very abrasive and aggressive track that many people celebrated especially during his time spent incarcerated. Following his release, he released 17 which became yet another large topic of discussion. People were confused when they heard this aggressive rapper making slow, sad, and thought-provoking music which stemmed from depression and obsession. 17 was a turning point in his career as it not only showed his versatility, it also showed his true feelings and thoughts. These thoughts are quite saddening and hint at an internal struggle of love and hate for those he cares about. The album introduced us to a new side of XXXTentacion one that would be fully explored on ?.
The album ? is a further indoctrination into the mind, heart, and soul of XXXTentacion. This album is far from rap, as it has a very slow and angsty sound. XXXTentacion steps out of his comfort zone and crosses the genre line especially on songs like “NUMB” and “Changes”. ? is XXXTentacion showing his true intent and feelings, while still keeping his signature style intact at times. The sound of ? is rare as it has hardly been seen coming from an artist who started their career in rap. Lil Peep and Trippie Redd are roughly the only comparative musicians that come to mind when discussing this sound. The alternative nature of ? what makes it work so well, the sound is refreshing yet powerful.
In 18 tracks, XXXTentacion accomplishes what many artists can’t. ? invokes emotion from the deepest depths of one’s psyche. ? shows the grim reality of life through deep lyrics and slow beats. XXXTentacion has departed from his rap roots on ? and I hope this transition continues to see the light of day. With each release, XXXTentacion is slowly dissipating music norms as he continues to put out another high-quality album that deviates from the standard trap sound that modern rap has fallen into.
10 Best Albums of 2018 (1/1-3/22) (March 22, 2018)
XXXTentacion delivers his heart and soul on his second album, ?. This album is a great way to start off the year for XXXTentacion and continues to solidify his authenticity for being one of the more influential artists of this modern age. ? benefits from the range and versatility that XXXTentacion has to offer. Songs like “I Don’t Even Speak Spanish Lol” wouldn’t normally be seen in this context nor would it even be good, however, XXXTentacion has cracked this formula on ?. With 17 and ? under his belt, XXXTentacion has had an impressive run over the past two years and I doubt we will be seeing him slow down anytime soon.