To most people, XXXtentacion only exists on the internet. Some may know him as violent. Some may know him for beefing with Drake. Some may know him for getting sucker punched at a concert and sucker punching a fan at another.
These events attracted massive attention, leaving XXXtentacion’s reputation to be a fight between being perceived as a violent Neanderthal to being a talented kid with plenty of potential. Yes, XXXtentacion is surprisingly one of most versatile young talents we have upon us today. That statement might sound absurd. However, through his art, he attempts to convey productive messages, especially through his words at his concerts.
“I stand for equality for all people. I don’t give a f*ck what you are, where you’re from… a person is a person. And a person deserves to live, and a person has free speech, and a person deserves to have freedom.”
If you are an adult, you would know that he is probably the last person you need to hear give an endearing speech of what’s wrong with the world. This isn’t the case for youth, however. Middle schoolers around the country love XXXtentacion. They hold him in high regard and willfully ignore all of his problematic actions because they love his music. This infectious toxicity garnered him an enormous fanbase who scour the internet cursing anyone who criticizes the craft or character of XXXtentacion. When you have a hardcore fanbase like this, it’s impossible to lose.
It is all pretty reminiscent of the early work of California collective Odd Future. They rapped about rape and harming others, but did not behave that way in real life. They had an impressionable, youthful fanbase as well, but the exaggerated acts of violence they rapped about never actually happened. Odd Future’s profound use of shock value didn’t make you believe they were truly bad kids, just good pretenders. Odd Future members only got arrested for inciting riots. Which is vastly opposed to X, who has been arrested for his alleged assault of a pregnant woman and for alleged armed robbery. Everybody is allowed to have their problems, and when these young fans grow to be more attuned to themselves, they will surely leave X in the past. It’s just unfortunate that they currently don’t have a better medium for their rebellion than X’s music.
When Justin Bieber was acting like an asshole a couple years back, fans of his were uncomfortable and stopped supporting him so fervently. That alone further proves that it is hard to separate an artist and their craft entirely. I can’t allow myself to enjoy X’s songs because for me it is directly supporting and condoning him and his actions. What is truly bothersome though is that these kids love his actions just as much as his music.
If X wasn’t as outlandish as he is, perhaps he would be even more popular. Listeners with social awareness would actually think his songs are worthwhile if the person behind them wasn’t so hypocritically opposed to the music’s message. It is disappointing seeing grown men cape for X like he’s their idol when he is such an inappropriate role model. I specifically say men, because women can undoubtedly notice the disregard X has for females.