A number of rappers and many, many fans mourned the death of XXXTentacion, when he was fatally shot on June 18 in an alleged robbery. Now, in a new interview with Beats 1 Radio on Monday, Empire Distribution founder Ghazi Shami—who helped bring XXX’s career into the mainstream—shared his own thoughts on just how troubling the Florida native’s untimely death has been.
“I think catastrophic is the word,” Shami said, referring to X's death. “His loss is catastrophic. There's a whole generation of youth that looked to him for a voice. I think that watching him mature as a human being in just like, the 14 months that I knew him—16 months, whatever it was. I mean, to see him go from a child—he was 18 years old when I met him in the jail and did a record deal with me, to where he was at now, just before it passed away...just the conversations he was having with me, and the things that he was focused on, and the things that he wanted to accomplish, showed the potential of what he was going to contribute to the world. I think it was cut catastrophically short," Shami said.
According to Shami, X had barely tapped into his talent. “The kid was a genius,” Shami said. “I think this kid was only scratching about 10 percent of his potential. We spent a lot of time talking about things that were not music related—cultural or social injustices. I mean, there were so many things that I feel like he could have affected the world in a positive way, had he had the opportunity to live out a full legacy.”
Later, Shami also explained how X felt like his brother.
“Out of all the people I've dealt with in my life or worked with in my life, nobody has had that profound of an effect on me, in that short period of time,” Shami says. “We were getting ready to go into another album together. But you know, we’ll just wait for things to settle down and then we'll talk. I have a good relationship with his mother, and we'll figure things out there. I just want to do whatever's right by his legacy, just because we had an older brother/younger brother type of relationship.”
Since X’s death, his music has been climbing the charts: this week, both of his albums are in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 chart.
On June 20, Dedrick D. Williams was arrested in connection with X’s death and charged with first-degree murder. Authorities believe he was the getaway driver. On June 27, 22-year-old Robert Allen was identified as a new person of interest.