On June 18, just before 16.00, the 20-year-old Jahseh Onfroy was better known as XXXTentacion, in his BMW in the parking lot of a motorcycle dealership in his hometown of Broward County. Fla., When he was shot dead by two assailants. Onfroy was killed instantly; The attackers fled with a Louis Vuitton bag that contained a few thousand dollars, while bystanders were filming Onfroy's lifeless bodies and posting the material on social media while alarms from ambulances sounded in the background.
It was a meaningless end to the life of XXXTentacion, the controversial rapper known for his emotional songs about depression and suicide as well as the violent incidents he allegedly perpetuated in his own life. In the last year and a half, since his first appearance on the Billboard charts with his breakout single "Look at Me!" In February 201
His meteoric rise to the mainstream was both tense and fueled by the allegations that preceded him: In October 2016, he was arrested and charged with a brutal assault on Geneva Ayala a young woman his girlfriend had been pregnant at the time and that according to court documents "was beaten to the eyes and could not see [she]". X repeatedly repeated the allegations and a process was constantly delayed. But meanwhile the difficulties continued: fights and riots broke out regularly at his concerts; His only national tour was interrupted after his cousin was shot dead in Florida; Allegations of witness falsification led to further charges against him; A video showing how he beat another woman surfaced on social media, which she later explained was a joke.
Through all this, his fan base grew only: Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, and J. Cole were among the celebrity music, sensing the painful truths that he mined in his songs, making the same connection as millions of children who seemed to relate to his pain. Music industry executives recognized its commercial potential. Caroline signed a deal to sell his label in 2017 after SONGS Music Publishing signed him as a songwriter. And there were signs that he was trying to rehabilitate his image: a charity show that raised $ 30,000 for a school-drive victim in Parkland, Florida; a promise to donate $ 100,000 to domestic violence prevention programs; a role as ambassador of the Miami Children's Initiative, which was announced in March to work with local youth. On June 24, less than a week after his assassination, XXXTentacion had planned another charity event for his Helfing Hand Foundation, which he wanted to launch with his mother.
Ultimately, X's murder did not seem to have anything to do with his personal struggles. In 2015, when I was editor-in-chief of the hip-hop magazine XXL our employees published an investigation into the current status of legal cases in 52 rapper murders. Over the past three years, this story has had to be updated more than a dozen times to include more cases. More than a quarter of these killings seemed to be entirely coincidental, the result of robberies like X, or cases of false identity, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time; over two-thirds remain unresolved. All of them were armed.
The short life and violent death of XXXTentacion was marked by pain for many. There is the pain of Ayala, who was allegedly abused and still suffers in the hands of a particularly virulent subgroup of X fans. It is the pain of his mother, Cleopatra Bernard now in the unimaginable situation of having to bury her own son. There is the pain of his friends, his family and his team of consultants. There is the pain that permeates his music and the pain of his millions of young fans around the world. There is the pain that none of this has anything to do with the art, the artist or the person at all – that there is no possibility of closure for anyone.
But the artist's legacy still unfolds with Many of his recorded music are still unpublished. His charity work continues; A support fund, supported by artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Nicki Minaj and Lil Yachty, has been announced. And, as his mother announced in an Instagram post three days after her son's death, a kid is on the way; his longtime girlfriend found out she was pregnant just weeks before the murder of X.
This article originally appeared in the 30th edition of Billboard.