XXXTentacion - '17'
The debut album from Florida rapper, XXXtentacion has been one of the biggest selling of the year but has gotten a lot of hate and has led to him deciding to drop his record deal.
XXXtentacion is a rapper who rose to fame in early 2017 for his hit release 'Look at Me!', a song that blew up so much that Drake was said to have copied X's flow for his More Life tune, KMT. The song also led to XXXtentacion being featured in the XXL Freshmen Class 2017 alongside other breakthrough artists such as Playboi Carti.
Yet, XXXtentacion has gained a lot of criticism in the last few months for his attitude towards women; with reports coming out that the 19 year old beat up his pregnant girlfriend. This makes the album a more interesting listen however, as X attempts to address this problem and his depression through '17.'
Starting out, 'The Explanation' unveils X's thoughts through spoken word on what he hopes the album will achieve; helping him cope with his mental health issues through his music as well as making the listener feel at ease with their own mental pain and concerns. This track in itself may seem a bit cringe(as well as some points of the album) but when someone is clearly in distress as XXXtentacion seems to be then its almost humbling to hear problems that we all suffer from addressed to a worldwide audience.
Following this, XXXtentacion presents us with one of his stand out song on the album 'Jocelyn Flores', a song that is about a girl who took her own life and how he finds it hard to cope without her as well as rhymes that mention his uncles attempted suicides. The instrumentals behind this album are a lot different than expected; featuring slowed down piano beats and guitar riffs throughout, a welcome yet unexpected change from the current hip-hop obsession with trap beats and even his own hit single 'Look at Me!' Other songs that are worth a mention are 'Fuck Love', 'Everyone Dies in their Nightmares' and 'Carry On.'
Clocking in at less than 25 minutes, 17 gives us the raw thoughts of a rapper who is at the forefront of this new wave of 'Emo-Rap' alongside the likes of Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Pump who promote the 'glorification' of suicide that is growing more prominent in the genre nowadays . Yet, X is different, he is someone who is followed by public criticism daily; his recent 'fake' suicide attempt on social media (which will supposedly feature in his new music video), his live shows which promote crowd violence, or his supposed own personal actions which promote the same. Still his thoughts are pure, he talks about what a lot of people his age are going through mentally and just comes across as a troubled young man on this album, similar to an early Tyler the Creator.
It is difficult to grasp which way XXXtentacion will go; he could very well become a key figure in the hip hop scene in years to come or end up behind bars.
'17' is musically superb, even if some songs feel half finished at times. I believe that the main problem with this album is moral. Is this an album that is morally problematic or one that addresses the problems that are seen in a lot of today's youth; mental health. 17, just like the artist behind it, is not something you should shy away from and XXXtentacion's willingness to put his raw thoughts into a project should be commended with your time.
29 August 2017