Released in the wake of his disturbing domestic violence confession.
Disturbing news surfaced yesterday with the release of secret recordings exposing the late XXXtentacion confessing to domestic abuse claims that had followed him for most of his young career. A divisive artistic visionary, X’s troubled past was ironically the bedrock to his transcendent music that inspired both hope and fear–some people saw him as a hero; others trembled in his presence.
With X’s posthumous album scheduled to drop soon, the music community finds themselves in unsure waters. On one hand, X admitted–in graphic detail–to stabbing people, beating his then pregnant girlfriend into a docile being, and making her fear for her life through repeated verbal and physical threats. The other hand tells a different story–one that is wrought with emotional turmoil emanating from a tortured upbringing that equally contributed to his violent disposition and stirring music.
The first taste of his posthumous release surfaced recently, materializing as “Arms Around You” featuring Lil Pump, Swae Lee, and Maluma. Sounding like a track straight from the islands, one that Drake would jump at the chance to contribute to, “Arms Around You” reinforces X’s eclectic artistry and how he was able to attain such a palatable status, despite constantly defending himself from these domestic violence accusations.
With the claims being unfortunately proven true, X fans find themselves at a crossroads. Separating the art from the artist is a constant battle in supporting polarizing figures, and one that forces the listener to calibrate their moral compass. Just ask any Kanye West fan how they’re able to hit play on The College Dropout and ignore his political rhetoric.
X was a product of his environment. He saw things that no person, let alone child, should ever be exposed to. These haunting images, like walking into a room to find his uncle swinging from a noose, compromised his psyche by drowning his outlook in a sea of darkness. It’s what lead to his beautiful music, it’s what lead to his violent outbursts.
“Arms Around You” is an ironic offering given these revelations. It positions X as a protective figure; one who wants to shield his lover in the comfort of his arms; one who wants to ensure that “no one will harm you”. X presumably played mental jump rope with his thoughts and actions, and this ambivalence is fully illuminated with “Arms Around You”.
While he’ll be heralded for his musical vulnerability and transparency, his reputation will be haunted by his domestic violence history.
Hit play on “Arms Around You” below: