Did XXXTentacion Deserve the Grief of Others?
June 29, 2018 | Haley Pearl
Rest in peace, X. You will live on through the music you left us.
For a person who covers music predominantly in the rock and metal scene, this is new for me.
However, this was a piece I've been meaning to write for some time and holds great meaning to me. Before I continue with this article, I'm going to list out some basic facts.
* XXXTentacion is known for his controversial rap music, and his domestic violence
* His rise to fame would remind several of Tu-Pac
* Date of death: June 18, 2018
* Place of death: Deerfield Beach, FL
* Cause of death: Gunshot
* Latest suspect: Dedrick D. Williams (he was in custody, but now he is back on the run)
* XXXTentacion topped the charts after his death
XXXTentacion, aka Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and murdered on June 18 of this year. I waited to write an article on this, because this crime and the events that occurred after, have been heavily present in the news. The public has reacted differently to the death of XXXTentacion-- both positively and negatively.
The more positive reaction to this, would be the people that were happy to see this young man dead. This would mainly be due to the fact that he is known for the many instances that he's been involved with domestic violence. The most popular one dates back to 2017, where it was alleged that he beat up his girlfriend at the time who was pregnant. Now, this wasn't a one hit and it's done kind of a thing. She was beaten to the point where she was partially blind-- it was not pretty.
These people did not grieve... they simply didn't care, and typically lashed out at those who were grieving over the death of this young man.
The negative reactors took it hard. These were the life-long fans that looked up to XXXTentacion...saw him as a role model. Because he was controversial, he covered topics in his music that other musicians don't have the motivation or skill to do. People held memorials, blasted his top songs at midnight the day of his death, and rioted all because a young man was taken from this world at an early age. XXXTentacion spoke and sang words that reached and touched thousands. I am one of those people that was motivated by his words.
So, how did a metalhead react to the death of a controversial rapper? Honestly, I had recently gotten into his music, and had only been listening to him for about six months before his death. I would be lying if I said that during that time, his music didn't motivate or reach me in an emotional way. XXXTentacion was actually one of the few rappers that I enjoyed listening to, and I truly believed that he had talent that not many present-day rappers posses.
I'm still upset over this death. Not mainly for the fact that the world had lost another musician though. I was heartbroken that this man was taken from the world at a young age. This was somebody's kid. It's important to note that. After that is when I realized that the world lost somebody who spoke to thousands through the use of his musical ability. Plus, if you look back at 2017 and what's already taken place in 2018, we've lost too many musicians already.
I also believe that the death of this man occurred in a way that was terrible. He was shot and killed. There were several suspects for this crime. These suspects were very obvious in my opinion. They posted images fitting the description on Snapchat, which made it even more suspicious. The most suspect (Dedrick D. Williams) was in custody, but fled and is on the run again. Unfortunately, I feel like America has become numb to murder, and I feel that is part of the reason why many just didn't care about the death of XXXTentacion. It's kind of upsetting that our police forces can't get this under control in a timely matter.
Unfortunately, I did get a bit of backlash for my grief of this man. That's when I started to think, "Does X deserve this? Does he deserve the grief?"
I'm going to be dissecting a popular issue brought up when thinking about this question: violence. As stated before, XXXTentacion is known for his domestic violence allegations. I'm not saying that violence against anyone, especially women, isn't bad. I'm simply saying that we shouldn't let that block ourselves from grief. I've been in a relationship where I've been abused physically. It's not a fun or a great situation to be in, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. XXXTentacion's gf in 2017 was beaten horribly, and it needs to be stated that what he did was terrible. However, I'm not letting that stop me from recognizing talent and ability of a musician.
On the same issue, it can be argued that XXXTentacion didn't follow the words he preached through his music. In his more common song, "Look at Me," he discusses domestic violence throughout the youth of our nation. He actually goes in depth on this issue at the end of this song in the video. Well, with all the domestic violence allegations against him, that doesn't look too great. Especially with the fact that he was awaiting trial for a domestic violence issue at the time of his death.
As one would assume at this point, his past did not motivate my decision in how I reacted to his death. I was saddened by the fact that we lost another great musician who had the ability to touch others. That was his one and only job, and he succeeded. Why would we denote that, because of his personal or past life decisions? When I listen to music, I look for musical expertise or talent, and then I look to see if the lyrics reached me in a particular way-- which XXXTentacion's music both had expertise and motivational meaning. He was truly successful in my eyes, at least in terms of that.
On another note, I'm assuming that you noticed that I mentioned that XXXTentacion topped the charts after his death. Although this is great, I do think his death brought on numerous bandwagon fans. These would be the fans that knew nothing of him, or very little, but they claimed to have listened and adored his music for years. Bandwagon fans who also grieved, didn't grieve to the extent that the true fans did. In my opinion, grief should come from the heart and only happen when there is true feeling behind it.
I'm not saying you have to side with me, because I recognize that everyone is going to react differently to the death of this man. There's not going to be a blunt "yes" or "no" to the answer to the questions asked in this article, because I believe you should come to a conclusion on your own. I'm just hoping you'll open your mind a little more before you make that final decision. Be smart and considerate about it.