Mourning a Troubled Star: XXXTentacion’s Complex Legacy

This past Tuesday, June 18, 2018, controversial Florida rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He was 20 years old. Details surrounding the shooting remain unclear as the Broward County Police department continue their investigation.

XXX was publicly affiliated with violent groups of people and often openly expressed that he feared for his life. Controversy and musical preference aside, nobody deserves to be defenselessly gunned down at 20 years old.

The slain Florida rapper had a lot of artistic and commercial success in his brief career but his legacy remains riddled with controversy.

Outside of the studio, XXXTentacion was infamously short-tempered and violent. He was facing allegations of domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend; an understandable turn-off for many music fans.

The rapper also had an extensive criminal record and well-documented history of emotional and physical abuse toward previous girlfriends.

While his reputation speaks volumes on his character, he was nuanced and more self-aware than his counterparts appeared to be. But does self-awareness offer any reconciliation for the pain he inflicted on others?

X was one of the first rappers in this generation to viscerally dissect his depression in his music; a trait that many fans applauded and connected with. X also appeared to be trying to make up for his past; organizing charity events and spreading musical positivity to his millions of fans almost every day.

Fans also have noted how the experience of listening to his music allows for one to try to understand the perspective and mindset of a disturbed and troubled individual.

The conflict remains between acknowledging X’s troubling issues with violence and abuse, and his attempt to do good with his platform as an artist, who may have been struggling with his own demons.

Regardless of how you felt about the rapper, XXXTentacion’s death marks an extremely tragic day in music. I hope his friends and family can find solace and closure with the impact he made during such a painful moment.

-Andrew Gonzales


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