XXXTentacion was a versatile artist who drew on trap, drill, emo, and punk to create some genuinely boundary-pushing records. Born as Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, the artist’s lyrics often addressed themes of depression and alienation, earning him a cult following.
Born in Florida, Onfroy had a tough adolescence, and was in and out of juvenile detention centres. It was at a detention centre where he met fellow rap Ski Mask The Slump God. The pair spurred each other on in their music careers, releasing a number of collaborations together.
XXXTentacion first started releasing music on Soundcloud in 2013, and from his early days he experimented with merging elements of punk and nu-metal with hip-hop. His first major success came with ‘Look At Me!,’ which was released on Soundcloud at the end of 2015.
In 2017, Onfroy released his debut album, 17 which went double platinum. His second album, ? (2018), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and is certified quadruple platinum in the US.
The lead single from ? is ‘SAD!’ – a track that has amassed multiple billions of streams across platforms, making it the artist’s most famous track.
XXXTentacion was shot and murdered in June 2018, in a case that remains under investigation. The albums Skins (2018) and Bad Vibes Forever (2019) were released posthumously.
During his life, X was a controversial figure, with various criminal charges brought against him, including charges of battery from his ex-girlfriend. As such, critics have accused him of ‘a life lived with disregard for humanity, both other people’s and his own.’
On the other hand, many have noted that his lyrics and music have provided solace and validation for a young audience, who suffered similar feelings of isolation and depression.
This article introduces eleven of the best XXXTentacion songs, based on fan forums, streaming popularity, and the opinions of the author.
The melodic ‘Moonlight’ is one of XXXTentacion’s most popular tunes. Lyrically, the track is something of a mumble rap track, with the repetitive lyrics running pretty shallow.
What the track lacks in lyricism, it makes up for with atmosphere. The clicky, trap-influenced beat and melodic vocals have made it an all-time chill rap classic.
10. Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares
The downtempo and soulful ‘Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares’ is comparable to a skit in length, at just 1 minute 35 seconds. Nonetheless, it is a consistent fan favourite.
Lyrically, the track is one of the artist’s darkest, repeating the line ‘really wanna die in the night time.’ The confessional lyrics detail feelings of numbness, depression, and isolation.
The combination of the hard-hitting lyrics and the gentle, downtempo beats have no doubt been the reason this track has proved so popular with XXXTentacion fans.
‘Hope’ opens with a dedication to the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in XXXTentacion’s home city of Florida. The 2018 shooting was the deadliest high school shooting in history, claiming 17 lives.
The track, which is something of an emo-rap anthem, touches on feelings of intense grief and suicidal thoughts.
The message of the track is still ultimately hopeful with the artist singing ‘outside of my misery, I think I’ll find / a way of envisioning a better life / for the rest of us, the rest of us / there’s hope for the rest of us.’
8. ***k Love (feat. Trippie Red)
The atmospheric and melancholic ‘***k Love’ is a big emo rap track, with its slow trap beat and melodic autotuned vocals. The song is a vulnerable track about breakups, loss, and desperation. The track is very much in a similar vein to the artist’s smash hit ‘SAD!.’
These lyrics sum up the song’s sentiment of mental chaos and misery: ‘I’m nauseous, I’m dyin’ / she ripped my heart right out / can’t find her / my eyes are all cried out / lost it, riots / gunfire inside my head.’
7. Look At Me!
‘Look At Me!’ is the track that first broke XXXTentacion. First released on Soundcloud at the end of 2015, the track made a moderate impact. However, it was not until it was picked up by Empire Distribution in 2017 til a became a real hit.
The track was the lead single from Revenge, his debut commercial mixtape. It showcases X’s distinctive blending of trap with punk and nu-metal influences, combining an aggressive trap beat with shouty vocals.
6. RIP Roach (featuring Ski Mask The Slump God)
RIP Roach is one of XXXTentacion’s most extreme tracks. Featuring his long-term collaborator Ski Mask The Slump God, the track sits somewhere between trap and metal with its screamy lyrics and distorted bass sounds.
Boundary-pushing, intense, and not for the faint-hearted.
5. I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore
At 1 minute and 27 seconds, the melodic and melancholic ‘I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore’ is barely more than a skit in terms of its length.
However, the track has proven popular with fans, thanks to its deeply atmospheric feeling, tapping into cloud rap and emo rap sensibilities.
4. YuNg BrAtZ
‘YuNg BrAtZ’ is a track that showcases the heavier, darker side of XXXTentacion’s discography.
With its big distorted bassline and shouty lyrics, this track is one of the artist’s most popular tracks from his ‘rocky’ catalogue. Brace yourself for this one. If you can get on board with the metal vibes, it’s definitely amongst the best XXXTentacion songs.
3. the remedy for a broken heart (why am i so in love?)
This track showcases XXXTentacion at his most sentimental and emotional. A downtempo and gentle track, it provides a total contrast with the artist’s heavier material.
The acoustic guitar outro with the melancholic refrain ‘I am falling for you, falling for you’ is what makes the track iconic and has seen it become one of his most popular.
‘SAD!’ is without a doubt XXXTentacion’s biggest commercial hit of all time. An emo rap classic, the track’s simplicity, both musically and lyrically, found resonance with millions.
The song reflects on feelings of unrequited love, desperation, and misery, and is characterised by its subtle instrumentals, trap beat, and simple poppy melody.
The striking music video for ‘SAD!’ was premiered the day after his memorial service on 28 June 2018. The video fittingly depicts an older version of the artist meeting and fighting his younger self, signifying inner battles to change and grow.
1. Jocelyn Flores
The soulful, downtempo ‘Jocelyn Flores’ is a tribute to a friend of X’s who committed suicide. The unusual story behind the song has led to many rumours and much speculation. However, articles from The Focus and The Daily Beast offer some clarity.
In short, X became infatuated with the girl after seeing her online. He invited her to visit him in Florida and model for his Revenge clothing line. At some point, he expelled her from his house, and took back the modeling offer. Soon after, she committed suicide, aged 16.
The touching, soulful song reflects on Jocelyn’s struggles, and has been streamed nearly two billion times. Without a doubt, one of the most-impactful and best XXXTentacion songs.
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