The Good, The Bad, and The XXX

The Good, The Bad, and The XXX

This isn’t so much a warning as it is an invitation for conversation. I’m sure there will be more than a few who disagree with my opinion, and I hope they are encouraged to voice their thoughts on the matter. Provided the opinion doesn’t come across as a personal attack I’ll do my best to respond. That is all.

People don’t get it. People don’t fully grasp the overwhelming pain that comes with depression, and it shows. In my darkest moments, when I’m stuck at my lowest points, I find myself alone, with no way to tell the outside world just how far I’ve sunk.

That’s when it’s the worst. Being alone, surrounded by the terrible nasty thoughts, drives me closer to the edge than anything else in life, and for a long time there was little that could pull me back. That changed when I discovered XXXTentacion, a seemingly terrible person, who gets it.

For those of you who don’t know, XXXTentacion is an up and coming rapper, who has garnered a following despite being muddled in controversy. From an alleged assault of his pregnant girlfriend, to reports of wrongful imprisonment, XXXTentacion has drawn criticism for his horrendous treatment of women.

Prior to first hearing his music, I paid little mind to XXXtentacion as I assumed he was just another new age rapper with a bad rap sheet. I figured his music wouldn’t hold much for me, and I kept that mentality until the first song off his debut album started playing by chance. I knew immediately that I had found something special.

That first song, Jocelyn Flores, is perhaps one of the best songs to start an album that I’ve ever heard. It’s an unapologetic symphony of raw emotion. Starting with Shiloh Dynasty’s gentle crooning, the song innocently weaved its way into the deepest corners of my being. It crept into the cracks, to the places that I pushed all those painful thoughts and memories. By the time I realized just how deep the music was reaching me, XXXTentacion’s first and only verse started, and his words snatched those feelings I had kept buried away, and dragged them to the surface. I was exposed, listening to XXXTentacion spin a tale of a girl’s suicide, and the pain we now shared. He spoke of his own vulnerability, and took me on a journey to the depths of his sorrow. Before I realized it, the song was ending, and Shiloh was once again singing in an effort to soothe the recently exposed pain.

The experience was haunting. Never before had such a short and simple song so openly exposed the pain I kept hidden from the world. As it concluded, I played it again and again, trying to understand why I felt so much from a song that barely lasted two minutes. I must have kept that song on repeat for a half hour before I grew curious enough to play the rest of the album. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

The remainder of the album cemented something that I knew from the moment I heard Jocelyn Flores. XXXTentacion gets it. He gets pain, he gets depression, and he gets suicide. He gets those nasty thoughts that creep into the corners of lonely nights, and he gets how enticing those thoughts can be. It was painfully clear that he got everything I was feeling, but the question then became, does he get a pass? Am I going to allow myself to be okay with the crimes XXXTentacion stands accused of, and if I don’t, do I need to stop listening to his music? To both those questions, I think the short answer is no. Having talent, and being able to relate to pain, is no excuse for abuse, but at the same time I don’t believe we should ignore the positive aspects of a person just because they’ve committed wrong.

I can understand that many won’t share this opinion. Abuse is a rather personal topic for many, and to some, abusers are irredeemable, and should be punished in any and all ways possible. While I respect that mindset, I can’t help but fundamentally disagree with it. I’ll say it again, positive aspects such as talent or empathy do not justify abusive actions, but at the same time, committing a crime doesn’t disqualify a person from having those positive aspects. Both can exist, and I think both are important when viewing a person who’s as controversial as XXXTentacion. He’s human, and like the rest of us flawed and contradictory humans, has an equal capacity for good and bad. Sometimes I think we all forget that. We rush to plant ourselves on non-existent moral high grounds, and declare that someone’s actions deem them, and anyone who supports them, a bad person, without stopping to question if we have the innocence to do so without slipping into hypocrisy. Don’t we all lie, cheat, steal, and hurt each other, all while supporting businesses and corporations that do the same? I know I’m no saint, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I’ll just come out and say it. I like XXXTentacion’s music, and I think that people, especially those struggling, should listen to it. It’s become my safety net in a way. On days where I feel the struggles of the world , and I can’t make sense of the noises in my head, I can turn to his music to offer up a bit of clarity. I don’t want to give something that special up, and quite frankly I don’t think anyone should have to. People who have such a deep understanding of pain are hard to come by, and a world where we ignore these people because of their transgressions doesn’t seem like a very good one. Who knows though, I could just be selfish.

  1. Not sure if you’ve heard of him, but NF is a great rapper who gets very personal with his depression and anxiety. Give him a listen and maybe he can help.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. I’ll make sure to give him a listen, thank you.

      Like

      Reply

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