Fatherhood is such a difficult concept to try to understand. The question of whether or not an individual is a good father is not something that can be answered in just a few words, and what makes someone a father at all is more than a question of just genetics. For many young men and women, their fathers are absent from their lives, either as a consequence of unfortunate circumstances or just the choices their fathers made at some point in their lives. Sadly, too many people are negatively impacted from a young age by the absence of their fathers which then has an impact on them and their children; it becomes a cycle that has devastating effects.
One such circumstance that was recently brought into the public eye was the untimely death of XXXTentacion. He left behind a girlfriend and a son; his girlfriend, Jenesis Sanchez, discovered she was pregnant just days after his death.
Who was XXXTentacion?
Although writing an article about someone born in 1998 using the past tense is terribly unsettling, it is important to still establish some about XXXTentacion’s past, his musical impact, and his life story to fully understand his legacy and his family. Nobody should have their life come to an end that quickly, especially someone who offered up a lot to the music community. However, due to his murder, he XXXTentacion only lived for two decades.
XXXTentacion was born as Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy in January of 1998 and grew up to make a name for himself in rap and hip hop, becoming a famous singer and songwriter. Even though he dealt with legal issues throughout his career which painted him in a very negative light in the public’s opinion, he gained an almost cult-like following due to the very vulnerable nature of his music and the fact that he shed light on important mental health issues like depression and alienation. His artistic style also got a lot of attention due to the fact that he managed to create a blend of cross-genre music with his ability to shift between emo, trap, hip hop, pop, indie, and grunge rock.
Just like many of his fellow musicians who became famous within the rap community, Onfroy’s early life was extremely difficult. He spent most of his early years being raised by his grandmother, mostly because his father was absent but also due to the fact that his relationship with his mother was not good. She also struggled with a number of personal issues that disallowed her from becoming an active member in his life. When he was only six, he tried to defend his mother by stabbing a man that was attempting to attack her. All of these experiences served to create a narrative in his life of pain, difficulty, and isolation that he definitely channeled into his music. Instead of blocking them out, XXXTentacion allowed his struggles to shape his perspective and became an integral part of the message of his music.
His Musical Career
XXXTentacion’s musical career began at a very young age with his aunt asking him to join both his church and school choirs. However, he did not last long in either one due to acts of violence towards other students. In fact, he was also expelled from the middle school he attended as well and he dropped out of high school before he was able to complete the tenth grade.
Although he started singing early, he did not release his first song until June of 2013, when he released “News/Flock” on his Soundcloud. After that release, he began to make music with an associate he had met while in juvenile detention.
He released his first EP, which was called The Fall, on November 21, 2014. After that, he released a second EP called Willy Wonka Was a Child Murderer. On that EP, his sound was greatly influenced by heavy metal, rock, and indie music. It was at this time that he really began to expand his horizons with the kinds of music he wanted to create. After that EP debuted, he quit his job working at a call center to pursue his career in music fulltime. However, shortly after that, he was arrested for aggravated battery on his then-girlfriend who was also pregnant. This led Spotify, the streaming giant, to remove his songs from their curated playlists due to the public backlash. It was later leaked that he had said, “I already got what I wanted, I already bashed her face–her face on the internet, bruh, I done made her look bad on the internet, bruh.” He spent several months on house arrest leading up to his death.
After his release from prison, he released several studio albums produced by labels Empire and Bad Vibes Forever. First came Revenge, which was released in 2017, then followed closely by 17 (also in 2017), Skins and ? in 2018, and then finally Bad Vibes Forever was released in 2019, posthumously.
Legal Issues Preceding His Death
XXXTentacion’s career was marred by several blemishes on his character that made people question whether or not listening to his music was something they felt comfortable with. He demonstrated a violent history and a lack of willingness to keep his hands off of his girlfriend, dealing with several different violent charges. He was first charged with possession of a firearm as a sixteen year old and spent a year in youth detention.
After that, he was arrested and charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and home invasion. Following that arrest, he posted bail and was subsequently arrested for the aforementioned domestic violence and assault on his ex-girlfriend.
This reckless lifestyle did not improve his public image and did not extend his life either. Not to say that his murder was his fault, by any means, but the life he chose to live was not a careful one.
On June 18, 2018, as he was leaving a Bank of America after picking up fifty thousand dollars in cash, he was stopped, robbed, and fatally shot. According to another RapTV article, “Rapper XXXTentacion was followed by a Dodge Journey SUV after withdrawing cash from a Bank of America location. He headed over to RIVA Motorsports, a high-end motorcycle shop in Deerfield Beach, Miami, Florida.
After returning out of the store and into his black BMW i8, the SUV blocked his path by driving in front of XXX. A little while before 4pm, two men inside of a dark colored SUV shot and murdered him in what appeared to the local county sheriff’s office as a robbery.” However, even though the investigation appears to be a robbery gone wrong, many of his fans disagree. While the killing of XXXTentacion has not yet resulted in any convictions, several men were arrested and one is hiring a private investigator to look into whether or not the investigation into the crime has turned up enough evidence to convict him.
XXXTentacion’s legacy lives on in his son. By some miracle, his girlfriend found out that she was pregnant with the rapper’s son just days after his murder, and in January of 2019, his son Gekyume Onfroy was born. And while yes, he is the boy’s biological father, he will not be able to pour into his son, to influence him with his music, or to love him. Hopefully Gekyume is able to live in the memory of his dad, to derive the good things from his accomplishments, and one day maybe he will be able to love his dad’s music just as much as so many of his fans.