10 Songs, 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

XXXTENTACION’s record label is called Bad Vibes Forever, and in the wake of the South Florida star’s murder, the name reads more like a curse than a fan base-uniting battle cry. Prior to his death, the troubled rapper and singer was the voice of a generation struggling with anxiety resulting from coming of age in social media’s clout era. SKINS, the third album in his discography, arrives six months after his untimely passing and delivers on his previously stated commitment to brevity (the LP contains 10 tracks, the longest of which is just over the three-minute mark), while still spanning a multitude of influences and musical inclinations.

Much like its predecessor, released just nine months prior, SKINS boasts technically proficient rapping, heartfelt R&B-influenced singing, and screamo belting. The only real surprise here is the album’s lone credited feature, Kanye West, who does his best to uplift XXXTENTACION’s legacy by way of an impassioned verse on “One Minute.” “When I’m on my way, X hold the gate,” he raps.

At the news of X’s passing, Kanye tweeted his condolences: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.” If X never knew, his fans surely will, as the most impactful rapper of X’s lifetime made it a point to pledge his allegiance to bad vibes forever.

EDITORS’ NOTES

XXXTENTACION’s record label is called Bad Vibes Forever, and in the wake of the South Florida star’s murder, the name reads more like a curse than a fan base-uniting battle cry. Prior to his death, the troubled rapper and singer was the voice of a generation struggling with anxiety resulting from coming of age in social media’s clout era. SKINS, the third album in his discography, arrives six months after his untimely passing and delivers on his previously stated commitment to brevity (the LP contains 10 tracks, the longest of which is just over the three-minute mark), while still spanning a multitude of influences and musical inclinations.

Much like its predecessor, released just nine months prior, SKINS boasts technically proficient rapping, heartfelt R&B-influenced singing, and screamo belting. The only real surprise here is the album’s lone credited feature, Kanye West, who does his best to uplift XXXTENTACION’s legacy by way of an impassioned verse on “One Minute.” “When I’m on my way, X hold the gate,” he raps.

At the news of X’s passing, Kanye tweeted his condolences: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.” If X never knew, his fans surely will, as the most impactful rapper of X’s lifetime made it a point to pledge his allegiance to bad vibes forever.

TITLE TIME

About XXXTENTACION

Rapper XXXTENTACION—born Jahseh Onfroy—mounted his career with a stream of self-released singles and mixtapes before catapulting into the mainstream in 2017 with 17 and the chart-topping ?, the latter released months before his death. The South Florida native’s volatile approach made him one of the leading figures in so-called SoundCloud rap, combining the hollowed-out sound of trap with the vulnerability of emo and folk, exploring depression and self-loathing with a frankness almost unheard of in rap (or any other genre, for that matter). At his most captivating (“Look At Me!,” “SAD!”) Onfroy seemed to swing between numbness and violence, between feeling everything and feeling nothing at all—an uneasy dichotomy that resonated especially with younger fans desperate for an emotional outlet. A starkly controversial figure (? was recorded on house arrest while he awaited trial for aggravated battery of a pregnant woman), Onfroy also seemed to speak from experience, a boundary-blurring artist who, for better and worse, lived his art: He was shot and killed in June 2018, at the age of 20.

HOMETOWN
Plantation, FL
BORN
23 January 1998

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