Audio: XXXTentacion – “Sad!”
From ?, out now on Bad Vibes Forever.
Like probably a lot of middle-aged white people, the first I ever heard of XXXTentacion was when Spotify banned him from its corporate playlists along with R. Kelly. I read “The Real Story of South Florida Rapper XXXTentacion” before I heard any of his music. And after reading that, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to listen to it. XXXTentacion was a violent and abusive guy.
Then on June 18 he was shot dead in an apparent robbery. He was 20 years old.
And now he has reached the top spot on the Hot 100 singles chart. And he’s got four more songs in the Top 40.
Christopher Weingarten in Rolling Stone explains how unique XXX’s story is in the history of popular music. This kid came from nowhere, with no label support, and made a huge impact. Weingarten compares him to Darby Crash of the Germs and says it’s as if “tiny indie Slash Records somehow got ‘Lexicon Devil’ to the Top 40.” For those of us who grew up in the MTV era, it’s unimaginable.
“Sad!” is still the only XXXTentacion song I’ve listened to. And it’s weird. Is this hip hop? He’s singing. It’s melodic. And depressing. And manipulative (“You decide, if you’re ever gonna, let me know / Suicide, if you ever try to let go”). It doesn’t surprise me at all that teenagers love it. And boy, do they. “Sad!” had 48.9 million U.S. streams and 26,000 downloads sold in the week ending June 21, with only 2.9 million in airplay audience in the week ending June 24.