The Birth and Death of A Monster

XXXtentacion “17” album has lights within its darkness

The open track for XXXtentacion’s 17 album, “The Explanation”, details exactly what listeners will hear on his long awaited project.

My collection of nightmares, thoughts, and real life situations I’ve lived
17 is the number tattooed on the right side of my head
My own personal number
Soon to be explained in future interviews or instances
By listening to this album, you are literally
And I cannot stress this enough
Entering my mind
And if you are not willing to accept my emotion
And hear my words fully
Do not listen
I do not value your money
I value your acceptance and loyalty
Here is my pain and thoughts put into words
I put my all into this
In the hopes that it will help cure
Or at least numb your depression
I love you
Thank you for listening

X’s details the mental struggles he has endured going all the way back to his 13th birthday. The now 19-year-old X — whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy — takes his project 17 goes to the dark places most veer away from. People are afraid of the evil thoughts that lurk in the back of their minds. The record spills out the emotions of a adolescent who seen thing in his life that most would only read about in fiction novels. The pain and emotion haven’t gone unnoticed by one Kendrick Lamar, who said he’s was already on his 5th listen of the album this past Saturday. This should come as no surprise after Lamar invite X and D.R.A.M to perform on his DAMM tour at the Staples Center this summer. Suicide, death, jail, all before he can serve his country, X’s pain bleeds out for listeners to swim though the turmoil of his soul on this project.

The 22-minute record explains how X deals with the tragedies that have afflicted his short life. Gone are the blasted base from the hit song “Look At Me” which castes X’s as another Soundcloud rapper who’s obsessed with promethazine and Future’s mixtapes. No the South Florida native has created a safe place for him to tell — not scream out — his emotions. On the song “Jocelyn Flores” X’s feels the weight of a friend suicide heavy on his shoulders. The song is named after the friend who X flew down to see him. She killed herself during the trip. According to research, suicide tends to affect friends and families to the point that they are at risk of commit suicide themselves. On the song “Save Me” X talks as if life is just a journey that ends in death; yet, crying out for someone to come help him. He cries out, “Hello, from the dark side in/Does anybody here wanna be my friend? (my friend)/Want it all to end/Tell me when the fuck is it all gon’ end?”

The troubled star clearly revisits the demons that lurk within his head, some of his own creation. Back in April he was released after pleading “no contest” to the charge of home invasion and aggravated battery with a firearm. X received these charges back in November of 2015 when he allegedly entered the home of Che Thomas and robbed him at gunpoint. To think that X is capable of this is chilling, and it isn’t even the worst thing he’s done on record. X’s still dealing with the alleged strangling and battery charges from his ex-girlfriend whom was left with two black eyes. Situations such as this have call into question wither X should even be accepted by his fans. What exactly is the line that a artist has to cross for it to be the last straw. It seems for some that X’s is still savable. Even with his issues, X’s doesn’t shy away from his problems with his ex. On the song “Carry On”, X speaks on the mixed emotions he still has for his love.

I’m cut open, her fingers in all my stab wounds
And if she could, she’d prolly dance
On my grave, inside my head
I see your face, I fuckin’ hate
That I love you still

A Genius contributor explained that the song “samples an unreleased instrumental made by Potsu, producer of 17 tracks “Jocelyn Flores” and “Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares”. The song uses Shiloh Dynasty vocals to assists on the emotionally scaring track. The song “Ayala” is named after X’s alleged victim, Geneva Ayala, to close out the record as painfully as it beings. Singing over the regret he feels over the pain he caused in his life, with a chilling reminder that he did once love her.

This isn’t a rap album. It isn’t rock, pop, or country. This album is pain, pain of from someone who has had his life changed in a flash. Only in music could a criminal make a project that would help the youth of today escape their problems. The 11-tracks are full of mistakes, issues, and addictions, presented though the vocals of a young man who has the ability to become a superstar. If he doesn’t end up dead before it happens.