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A criminal or a musician: the rapper XXXTentacion deserves the attention of listeners around the world

Two criminal offenses, social networks and conflicts made for a 19-year-old boy more than his music.

Photos XXL
Photos XXL

On August 25, the debut album of the 19-year-old rapper XXXTentacion (pronounced “EX-EX-TEN-TA-SION”) entitled “17” was released. The musician from Florida entered the top ten new hip-hop stars according to XXL magazine and his track was on the list of 100 popular songs from Billboard. At the same time he is more known for two prison terms, quarrels with popular rappers and activity in social networks.


The real name of XXXTentacion is Jase Duane Onfroy. He grew up in a dysfunctional area in the southeastern United States. The parents had no money for the maintenance of their son, so the grandmother was engaged in upbringing , which helped him to go to school and enter the church choir. But the teenager attacked a classmate, then fought in the section and eventually flew both from the choir and from the school.

In 2014, Onfra for a year ended up in a children’s colony due to constant fighting, drug sales and suspicions of car rides. In 2016, the rapper was accused of armed robbery and beating of a man – he spent about four months in prison. The prosecution did not have sufficient evidence, so the teen paid 10 thousand dollars in bail and went free.

In the fall of 2016, XXXTentacion was arrested on suspicion of beating his pregnant Geneva girl. He held her hostage for several days and did not let him call the policeman. According to the rapper, while he was sitting out the first term, the beloved changed him with several people, after which she openly confessed to Twitter.

The investigators accused Onfroid not only of domestic violence, but also of violating conditional early release conditions and falsifying the testimony of witnesses. The musician threatened up to 10 years of imprisonment, but in the end he was released on bail six months later.

XXXTentacion has never been a cool character: there are a few videos on YouTube where rappers beat people and participate in street fights. In one of the Periscope broadcasts, Onfroy was paid to lure a man out of the street and beat him up – as a result he got into the frame as the musician deals a few heavy blows to the teenager on the face and back.

Hero of Social Networks

Problems with the law and all the failures XXXTentacion actively commented on social networks. Thanks to Twitter, Onfroy acquired his audience: after detention, the fans launched a hashtag #freex , which was released in the US trends.

Profile publications on the wave of popularity of the musician had to explain to the audience why it is not necessary to support a criminal artist.

With so many really good musicians, it’s strange not only to listen to XXXTentacion, but also to advocate its release. Innocent black men are often subject to false accusations, but, to quote Huey Freeman from the animated series “Ghetto”, not every famous Negro, who was arrested – a Nelson Mandela

The Ringer

The first thing after the release of prison XXXTentacion launched a live broadcast and thanked everyone for their support and announced three releases at once.

On Twitter, he also communicates with fans directly and answers their questions: tells how he plays in DotA and sometimes mentions his communication with his parents. Most fans love ironic video with a rapper, where he, including, beats himself with an electric shock or fights with friends.

“If Kim Jong-un does not have hidden allies, there will be no Third World War”

“Why does XXXTentacion look like Majin Buu (character of the anime Dragon Ball – note )”

The popular musician among others actively used SoundCloud, where he published his tracks more often than on other platforms.

Community member

From left to right: XXXTentacion, ASAP Rocky, Lil Yachty. Reddit photo
From left to right: XXXTentacion, ASAP Rocky, Lil Yachty. Reddit photo
In addition to criminal terms and social networks, the reason for the popularity of XXXTentacion is that it is accepted by the current stars of hip-hop. During the flashmob #freex, not only Getter and DRAM expressed their support, but also Lil Bibby and even ASAP Rocky.

The latter mentioned Onfroid during a live broadcast in Instagram and not only supported, but also quoted the track “Look At Me”, calling the rapper the main young star right now.

But most of all the noise was caused by the conflict XXXTentacion with Drake. While the 19-year-old musician was in prison, a Canadian rapper was rumored to have contacted his bitmaker to make a new track for the album “More Life”. A few weeks later, in a performance in Amsterdam, Drake played a song without a name, which was reminiscent of “Look At Me” with music and style of performance.

This was noticed by the fans of XXXTentacion, and the musician himself reacted when he left prison. He called Drake a “sopkin,” accused of stealing a style, and joked about his mother on Twitter. There was so much noise that even media outlets wrote about it , which usually do not cover events in hip-hop.

At the same time in an interview with XXXTentacion said that the Canadian through the manager threatened him with reprisals. According to Onfroid, he always respected Drake as a musician, and if he asked for permission to use the fragment of the composition and paid the compensation, he would give his permission.

Another conflict XXXTentacion happened during the tour after leaving the prison: a long-time opponent – rapper Rob Stone – along with friends attacked him right on the stage during a concert in San Diego. The guard dragged the 19-year-old rapper from the scene in the midst of a fight between the two factions.

After the musician recovered, he pointed out to the abusers that next time it was better to act.

“Next time make sure that you killed me”


Photos of Miami New Times
Photos of Miami New Times

Style XXXTentacion corresponds to the trends: the rapper makes aggressive clap-rap, which brings the elements of metal and horrorcore. The peculiarity is that almost all the tracks of Onfroid are recorded on a cheap microphone connected to a laptop in his room. A spoiled sound with grating and noises like the fans – they consider it more sincere and not as glossy as the mainstream rappers.

The greatest success was brought to the musician by the song “Look At Me!”, Which for a year acquired a platinum status (sold millions of copies), and also gained 80 million auditions in Soundcloud. Then Onfroid was included in the top ten of the new rap artists from XXL magazine. And there the musician received an unusual promo-video: while everyone acted under the beat, he turned off the music and read the poem a cappella.

Critics have not yet decided how to react to XXXTentacion: some believethat his music consists of monotonous wheezing and poor-quality singing, others in his songs like the dark atmosphere and the theme of teenage mental disorders.

The new album XXXTentacion tends to gravitate towards rock and grunge with lyrics about depression, loneliness in the world and broken love. The first singles have more singing than the recitative (” Fuck Love “), there are guitar samples (” Garette’s Revenge “) and introductions played on the piano (” In The End “).

XXXTentacion prefers experimental sound: overload in choruses, sampled female moans and heart-rending cries in the background. At the same time, he is quite ambitious in his texts and interviews: he likes to call himself a “living dead” or to say that a rap culture has come to change.

I will make the whole world hate me. I want to be a supervillain. I know that people love villains. Now I just have to work hard, it’s very hard.

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