A History of XXXTentacion's Empty Publicity Stunts

XXXTentacion has tried really hard to get and keep our attention over the past few years. Here's how.

XXXTentacion consistently manages to stay in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In addition to the increasingly disturbing allegations brought up by his ongoing domestic abuse case, he's remained in the news for punching someone at a concert, stealing fan art, and, most recently, releasing a controversial music video that portrays the hanging death of a child. The rapper——an artist with just a handful of releases—consistently manages to stay in the public conversation by stirring up needless, and often cruel, controversies that often have very little substance, though he'd like to make you think otherwise. 

Below are some of the ways he's tried to get our attention over the past few months.

February/March 2017: Insults Drake

Since the days of KRS-One and MC Shan, the quickest way for an up-and-coming artist to get noticed is to diss someone more popular. So in late January when Drake unveiled a new song during a show that some fans said resembled XXX's "Look At Me," the opportunity was there to continue the tradition by going for the rapper at the top of the game. 

XXXTentacion responded with a series of tweets claiming that "one of my homies" had told him that "Drake fucks with you," and that was all the evidence he needed. He called Drizzy a "pussy nigga," among other insults. He also brought up Drake's alleged bite of D.R.A.M.'s "Cha Cha" for "Hotline Bling." 

The one-sided beef continued during an interview on March 29, when a newly-out-of-jail XXX called Drake a "bitch" and, confusingly, said he was upset that the superstar hadn't shown up to the Florida rapper's bond hearing.

May: Insults Offset

Migos' Offset let it be known that he was not a fan of upside-down cross imagery and other, in his words, "devil shit." So several artists, including SahBabii and Lil Uzi Vert, returned fire. Unsurprisingly, XXX jumped in as well

"Tell that pussy nigga Offset to get off a nigga dick, man," he said. "Nigga's like 35 tryin' to catch the wave. Nigga, your career is over, shut that pussy shit down, you on the dick. Quavo the best rapper in Migos, the rest of you niggas irrelevant. Fuck Offset. Pansy-ass, ballerina ass nigga."

June: Takes Credit for a Stabbing

XXX's long-running beef with San Diego rapper Rob Stone—you can get the full backstory here—culminated in early June when X played a show in Rob's hometown of San Diego and was attacked while onstage. In the melee that followed, one person was stabbed, and a hyped-up X was all too ready to boast about it. 

"[S]everal stab wounds, he in critical condition he might be dead in a few hours…'JUST SAYIN'," he wrote in a quickly-deleted tweet. He also bragged about the violence in a post on Snapchat.

June: Insults J. Cole

During his XXL Freshman freestyle, XXX took a shot at J. Cole for his song "False Prophets." "Change your name to Amber Cole," he rapped. "These fucking entertainers is playing it by the rules/Sucking government dick for safety to stay cool."

July: Claims He's Going to Disappear

In the midst of a postponed tour, legal problems, and his beef with Stone, XXX left a cryptic message on social media saying, "I'm going to disappear for a little while, I love you all." He didn't.

August: The Hanging Video

On August 23, XXX posted a video to his Instagram that appeared to show him hanging himself. The video had no caption or other explanation. After hours of speculation, with no response from the artist, X reappeared to explain that the clip was from an upcoming music video. He expressed anger that anyone could have thought that posting a shocking video with no context in advance of his album dropping was a "publicity stunt." For a roundup of why what X did was potentially dangerous, check here

September: Mocks Abuse Victims, Feminists, and More

Earlier this month, Pitchfork shared the graphic details of testimony accusing XXXTentacion of battery and false imprisonment against a former girlfriend. The rapper's response was to release a series of videos and social media posts mocking the idea that he is "insensitive" to the victims of abuse. 

In a clip captioned "I only beat the pussy," he said, "If you want your pussy domestically abused, hit my line." He also mocked feminists, and threatened that, "Everyone who called me a domestic abuser, I'm finna domestically abuse your little sister's pussy." 

September: Hangs a Child in a Music Video

X just released a video for "Look At Me." The clip shows or recreates scenes from past racist abuses like the murders of Emmett Till and Philando Castile. However, it also gives a controversial twist on lynching imagery in a scene that shows X putting a noose around the neck of a young white child, and then hanging him. When viewers expressed anger at the provocative imagery, XXX took to Instagram to unsatisfactorily attempt to explain the artistic reasoning behind his vision, though it appears he just wants your attention. 

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