While today’s mainstream artists consistently dominate media headlines, there is growing silent support of figures in the underground Hip/Hop scene, out of the limelight.
One of these rappers whom you may or may not have heard of, is the recently turned 19 year-old Jahseh Onfroy known as Xxxtentacion. The Florida rapper who goes by “X” has not released a single music video and has very little music available on major streaming platforms. What X does have however, is a huge social media and Soundcloud presence with loyal fans likened to worshippers, his presence is growing fast.
“MAKE OUT HILL-XXX” as he is known on Twitter, has 215k followers. The rapper has a further 184k on a Facebook account which is rumoured to be masquerading as the rapper. In terms of music, X only has one song available on music platforms Apple Music and Spotify called “Look at me,” yet he has over 541k followers on Soundcloud. The style of music is varied and very hard to liken to anything else, but can be most aptly described as ‘experimental.’ Drawing influences from a wide range of Heavy Metal and Rap icons, X’s music primarily features heavily distorted beats and screamed rap vocals. Furthermore, the rapper’s subject matter aims to shock, as his lyrics often refer to violence, sex and drugs.
Despite the aggression in many of his songs, X has contrasted the former described style with slower, more R&B like beats which feature a change in cadence and delivery.
Personal life and legal issues
Music aside, X has recently gained attention for his troubled lifestyle. Currently housed in the same jail as rapper Kodak Black, X is facing a host of criminal charges. In 2016 alone the rapper was arrested three times. Charges include, robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery with a weapon and savagely beating a pregnant female, who was allegedly X’s girlfriend at the time. Despite earlier confirmation that the rapper was to be released this past January, rumours surrounding the finding of new evidence has lead to a suspected April release.
X’s temper and violence has been caught on video with numerous of his street brawls posted online to platforms such as Facebook and worldstarhiphop.com. The teenager’s rapid and recent growth in music combined with struggles in his personal life has left him struggling. No more than a quick scan of his Twitter page alone is needed to prove so. His tweets reveal a sinister and depressed state of mind, that reflect his music subject matter and lyrics. X’s large following has consistently stood by him, with many supporters perpetuating the #FreeX campaign on social media.
11 more days #freex
— T.Y. (@TylerYelland) March 21, 2017
The support continues to rally for X, even in the face of charges concerning the beating his pregnant, alleged ex-girlfriend.
life is pain
— MAKE OUT HILL – XXX (@xxxtentacion) March 19, 2017
I don’t wanna feel
— MAKE OUT HILL – XXX (@xxxtentacion) March 12, 2017
Despite his horrible past actions, the pain in X’s music is evident. Perhaps that is the appeal, after having listened to a lot of Xxxtentacion, it is hard not to hear the depressed, hurting and troubled teen. His fans’ support for him is not a symbol of condoning acts of violence and drug use, but rather a reminder that we all have troubles and dark times, to whatever the degree. His music serves as a tribute to the emotion of desperation.