Often described as one of rap’s most controversial artists, XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, rocketed to fame after his song “Look at Me” went viral on social media and SoundCloud in 2016. After that there was no looking back for the Florida-born rapper, whose death on Monday has left the music world shocked.
However, the real recognition for XXXTentacion came last year when his debut album 17 made it to the second spot on the US Billboard 200. His second album “?” premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart when it was released in March. The album tackled subjects such as depression and the rapper came in for praise from many high-profile stars.
However, his short career was plagued by allegations of domestic violence. At the time of his death, he was awaiting trial after being accused of domestic violence by his pregnant ex-girlfriend in 2016. Prosecutors also accused him of witness tampering, saying he also coerced the woman, which landed him in prison in December 2017. He was under house arrest while he awaited trial on battery and harassment charges.
Controversy’s favourite child, XXXTentacion was also panned for the viral hit “Look at Me” for staging a scene depicting the rapper lynching a young white boy. The video also referenced to controversial topics in the US, such as racism, the 1991 Rodney King beating, the lynching in Mississippi of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, the 2014 Missouri riots, police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016 and the 2017 Charlottesville violence.
XXXTentacion had a troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music, according to a BBC report. He has also spoken up about his battle with depression. With controversies overshadowing his career, Spotify briefly blacklisted Onfroy’s songs from its service earlier this year.
On Monday, the rapper had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, when he was shot. He was in his black vehicle and preparing to leave when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired and then both fled the scene. Investigators are yet to ascertain the motive behind the killing.