Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy (January 23, 1998 – June 18, 2018), better known under the stage name XXXTentacionnote or more colloquially "X", was an American rapper and singer-songwriter.
X was one of the most popular names in hip-hop during the late 2010s, rising to fame through the SoundCloud rap scene that became prevalent around that time, with his bleak and confessional lyrics, combination of clean and harsh vocals, incorporation of emo-inspired guitars, and frequent use of distortion and lo-fi sound quality all becoming staples of the subgenre's sound. However, he also worked in different genres such as indie rock, nu metal, R&B and punk rock.
X began his career in 2013, releasing collaborative mixtapes and EPs, and began gaining major traction in 2017 off the heels of his breakout hit "Look at Me!". He began putting out official releases under the Empire label the same year, but a majority of his material was self-released and takes a bit more digging to find. The last official work he released while alive was his second album ?, which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200.
Aside from his strong cult following among a young fanbase, and the mainstream success this eventually brought him, an unavoidable aspect of X's legacy is his status as one of the most controversial rappers of his time. A series of domestic abuse allegations, incidents at concerts, instances of repeated violent behavior, and beefs with other rappers (most notably Drake, who X alleged stole his flow from "Look at Me!" for his song "KMT") were continuously attached to his name. X was also regularly in and out of jail for a variety of different cases; in fact, "Look at Me!" was gaining popularity while he was still in jail, inspiring the fan battle cry of "free X".
On June 18, 2018, X was shot in a robbery at a Florida motorcycle dealership. About an hour and a half later, he was pronounced dead at 20 years old. Four suspects were arrested in connection with the killing. In 2022, one of the four pled guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testimony against the other three; the following year, the remaining three were found guilty of robbery and first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison.
Those close to X have said that he was nowhere near done creating, and had a lot of vaulted music that is now steadily being released posthumously. Whether or not the music was really in a release-ready state that X would approve of and whether or not his estate are treating the process with the utmost respect for his legacy have been subject to mass scrutiny and criticism.
Albums in bold. An asterisk (*) denotes a posthumous release.
- Ice Hotel [EP] (2014)
- The Fall [EP] (2014)
- Members Only, Vol. 1 note
- Members Only, Vol. 2 note
- ItWasntEnough (2016)
- Willy Wonka Was a Child Murderer [EP] (2016)
- REVENGE [EP] (2017)
- Members Only, Vol. 3 (2017)
- 17 (2017)
- A Ghetto Christmas Carol [EP] (2017)
- ? (2018)
- Skins (2018)*
- Members Only, Vol. 4 (2019)*
- Bad Vibes Forever (2019)*
X displays examples of the following tropes:
- Animesque: In an interview he explained that he borrowed a lot from Asian/Japanese culture, and frequently samples or references anime in his music.
- It helps that his numerous iconic hairstyles; his half blond/black dreads, all white dreads with no eyebrows, or all-blue dreads have reminded many fans of anime hairstyles and as a result has tons of fanart of him drawn to resemble anime characters.
- Also the music video for "BAD!"
- He has a tattoo of a transmutation circle on his right hand, similarly to several characters from the story.
- Anti-Love Song: "Fuck Love", obviously.
- Arc Number: 17. He even explains this in "The Explanation" in the album of the same name.
- The Atoner: He seemed to try be going in this direction during the troubles with the law, constantly going to charity events and his final act before his death was to go to a scheduled charity event.
- Ax-Crazy: His music was always categorized for its violent, intense, and abrasive lyrics coupled with his choatic vocal delivery. Applies also to his real life, where he allegedly abused his girlfriend regularly as well as shoving a barbeque fork into her genitals.
- Broken Bird: He came off as this for some people and fans. Makes sense due to his struggle with depression and anxiety.
- Boastful Rap: "Look At Me!", although it's more or less a darker kind, since the song discusses X's fury over the fears of his lover cheating on him, so he threatens to kill her parents and then her, all while screaming "LOOK AT ME!" over and over.
- Careful with That Axe: Understatement, most notable with "RIP ROACH" and "Floor 555".
- Taken to ridiculous extremes with "STARING AT THE SKY" and "One Minute"
- Character Development: Seems to be the implication of the "SAD!" music video, with X attending his own funeral and fighting off his past self and ending him, implying X deciding to improve from his dark past into a better person. At least we think.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Well duh, it's in his material. Although he really went over the top with always swearing in interviews and shows.
- Driven to Suicide: Most, if not all of his songs fit this mentality, not helped by his own depressed state. 17 was all about this.
- Darker and Edgier: X's music set him apart from other hip-hop artists in how utterly bleak and depressing they could be. His most successful works were injected with X's own experiences concerning his personal struggles with depression and loss. While he was largely mocked by many for his heavy reliance on these depressing themes, many others embraced it, and this formed the crux of his massive success for his albums 17 and ?.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: A lot of his pictures, most notably his mugshots show examples of this.
- Friend to All Children: He loved kids, and the last months of his life focused on going to charity events to see the kids.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from a normal kid most of his life going through the usual means of struggles into one of the darkest, most cynical, and borderline suicidal rappers out there.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Prior to their falling out, he was this with Ski Mask the Slump God. The two met in a juvenile detention center and frequently collaborated.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "Orlando" off of 17.
- Mad Artist: His shtick. His Tumblr showcased a lot of this mentality with writing and drawings about how he hated life, human beings, love, and such.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Mentioned in "Floor 555".Bitch, I'm drillin' your neighbor daughter at Best Buy.
- Miniscule Rocking: His songs barely if ever broken passed 2 minutes, and was arguably a criticism in regards to 17.
- Nu Metal: Was always an influence on his sound, but "One Minute" is a rather straight-forward example of this.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "King" and multiple songs on 17 were straight-up indie/alt/emo rock.
- Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: His career consisted of all of this, mixed in with depression and anxiety problems.
- Signature Style: Lo-fi beats, violent and bleak lyrics, and somber singing. If he's not in a good mood, he'll be screaming.
- Someone to Remember Him By: His mother confirmed on his Instagram account (that she took over for) that his new girlfriend was expecting his child. Gekyume Onfroy was born about six months after his father's death, and three days after what would have been his 21st birthday.
- Subliminal Seduction: The instrumental of "Guardian angel" reverses that of "Jocelyn Flores".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "I spoke to the devil in miami" is a notably low-key song, with X rapping quietly over a piano loop.
- Stylistic Suck: His mixes are notably unpolished and muddy, and this is done with the intention of adding a genuine quality.
- Trope Codifier: For "Soundcloud" rap.
- Verbal Tic: EY!, repeatedly in his songs. Others were "YUH" or "YA".
- When He Smiles: The times he did smile always invoked fan squees.
- Word Salad Title: His name. According to him, it means "unknown temptation", as he sees X as an unknown numeral, although the choice to include 3 Xs was based on his porn-watching habits.
- Before I lay me down to sleepPray the Lord my soul to keepI hope it's not to late for me, whoa...