XXXTentacion's Death Has Sparked Conspiracy Theories, Controversy, And Discord Among Fans
Since XXXTentacion was gunned down Monday, social media has been thrown into turmoil over how to remember the problematic rapper.
When XXXTentacion was shot dead Monday, fans and detractors alike lit up social media with heated discussions over just how the 20-year-old came to be killed, and how he should ultimately be remembered.
While XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, had millions of social media followers and a sophomore album that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March, he also had a past that involved admissions of brutal assault and allegations of more abuse against women.
In an interview on the No Jumper podcast, the rapper told a story of how he beat a gay jail cellmate for looking at him wrong so badly that they were both covered in blood when the guards finally stopped it.
XXXTentacion was also facing charges of beating and strangling his pregnant girlfriend at the time, as well as false imprisonment and witness tampering.
Just how to reconcile that past with a rapper who clearly had a loyal — and rapidly growing — fanbase has now ignited a feverish debate online, with people lamenting the loss of a rising star whose full potential was cut short...
...to many others pointing out the rapper's problematic history.
"The fact that you can chalk up his violence as youthful indiscretion or ‘troubles’ only let’s [sic] me know you all have accepted abuse, violent homophobia, and sexual assault as 'growing pains,'" one Twitter user said.
Others tried to note how history is full of people who have made lasting cultural contributions with their own set of issues when they were younger, only to change course as they grew up.
And then there were the conspiracy theories.
The first wave came when a video of the rapper seemingly without a pulse hit online. The rapper looks unconscious in the footage, but it is unclear where he was shot, leading some to wonder if it was even true he was shot. The theories were tied to 2017, when XXXTentacion faked his death in a post on Instagram in which he pretended to hang himself. He later dismissed it as a prank.
Then there was the Instagram video from the day before the shooting where the rapper talks about what he wants his legacy to be if he dies.
But when XXXTentacion was confirmed dead by the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the conversation among fans turned to who shot him.
The Blast obtained the dispatch call describing the crime scene and the two suspects, which included a reference to a mask similar to one seen in a photo of Soldier Kidd and Soldier JoJo posing on a car that some speculated was taken near the crime scene.
Both Florida rappers were then forced to vehemently deny any involvement in XXXTentacion's death, and Soldier Kidd deleted the photo in question.
An elderly couple in Cape Coral, Florida, were also accused on social media of killing XXXTentacion when a post on Instagram gave a specific address as the home of the rapper's killer, the septuagenarian couple who live in the residence had a visitor come under the guise of delivering a pizza to find "someone who killed his friend."
The man was turned away, but returned Tuesday asking neighbors to help him find the killer. The man was arrested and Cape Coral police had to release a statement Tuesday insisting that "the suspect does not and has not lived there."
In fact, 22-year-old Dedrick Devonshay Williams was arrested Wednesday night in Pompano Beach and charged with first-degree murder, a probation violation for motor vehicle theft, and driving without a valid license. Detectives are also seeking additional suspects.
But the controversy and heated feelings surrounding XXXTentacion's life and legacy haven't been contained to the internet.
On Tuesday night, two vigils for the slain rapper turned chaotic. At a vigil in Florida, XXXTentacion's ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala, who accused him of abusing and assaulting her, attended his memorial but was then thrown out by his fans, who also proceeded to burn her vigil offerings.
Ayala has had a long, contentious history with XXXTentacion fans, with them harassing her at her job after she went public with her accusations. A GoFundMe campaign that was started to fix her eye damaged in the alleged abuse was even shut down.
Also on Tuesday, in Los Angeles, a vigil for the rapper shut down Melrose Avenue and turned into a riot as mourning XXXTentacion fans moshed in the middle of the street and jumped off rooftops until police dispersed the group using rubber bullets and other tactics.
And perhaps it surprised no one that the postmortem controversy pushed its way once again into the streaming music world, where XXXTentacion had become a flash point in life.
Spotify made attempts to memorialize XXXTentacion by pushing his music to the top of the influential RapCaviar playlist, which caused a controversy among fans and detractors alike who called it hypocritical for the streaming service to promote an artist on the same playlist they had kicked him off of a few weeks before due to his personal misconduct.