XXXTentacion and the problem of separating art from its artist

XXXTentacion wearing a half black, half white mask

XXXTentacion has scored his highest position in the UK’s Official Chart, with his track Sad climbing up to number five.

The 20-year-old was shot dead in his car in Florida on 18 June.

Radio 1 didn’t play XXXTentacion on its Official Chart Show, even though he currently has three songs in the UK Top 40: Changes (22) Moonlight (17) and Sad.

The rapper has topped the US Billboard Charts since his death, amid a stream of tributes from huge stars including Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Meek Mill.

His personal life – which is maybe better known than his music – makes him extremely controversial.

Twitter post by @kanyewest: rest in peace 🙏🙏🙏 I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing Report
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Listening to his music, he appears to open himself up and pour his heart and mind into his lyrics until he has nothing left.

It’s extremely dark – featuring themes of depression, loneliness, abandonment and suicide.

The genre Souncloud rap doesn’t quite sum his sound up – it’s probably better described as emo rap.

You can hear influences which include Linkin Park, Nirvana and his contemporary Lil Uzi Vert.

His latest video, released after his death, shows him attending his own funeral.

The family of XXXTentacion collects items from a makeshift memorial outisde his funeral
The family of XXXTentacion collects items from a makeshift memorial outisde his funeral

XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was also unspeakably violent, controlling and abusive.

He beat up his cellmate in juvenile detention because he suspected him to be gay.

A year later, he was back in jail serving time for armed robbery and aggravated battery.

Then in 2016, he was accused of abuse by his then girlfriend and faced charges which included aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and false imprisonment.

How should he be remembered? As a young, troubled genius taken too soon, or as a violent abuser…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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