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11 Apr

ALBUM REVIEW: XXXTentacion – ?

“Comes with instructions”


As a fan of that old school boom bap, with technical stuff surrounding punch lines, rhyme schemes and metaphors, I’ve been relatively afraid of the next generation of hip hop. I’d like to think that many hip-hop scholars would agree that we don’t live in the era of Wu-Tang and Eminem and such anymore. Everybody is squad deep with his/her clique in it. The term gang doesn’t mean anything negative anymore. It’s TaylorGang, Gucci Gang. Gang, Gang, Gang.

It’s why I was very hesitant when I get handed the new XXX album. Janseh Onfroy, 18, and about to be put away for life last year…is a part of the XXL Freshman Cover group of 2017. The issue I personally considered the ‘woke’ gang. I’ve been watching the man grow from the time his fight compilations gained him attention on YouTube and WorldStar. I thought this in itself was just a publicity stunt of some sort until I heard Yung Bratz where he samples sounds from his own fights. The young South Florida rage fanatic is extremely vocal about the current topic of conversation surrounding the mental health of a large majority of teens and young adults. He warns from the jump that in order to enjoy his music, you need an open mind. It’s a requirement. Also a personal suggestion for anyone who wishes to delve into the mind of the young man.

From the warning under the song ‘Introduction (Instructions)’ until SAD! I wasn’t really present, I’ve heard the mixtapes and such, beforehand, you know…occasional screaming, barely audible ramblings that seem to point out that he’s a rapper who’s got some personal things to go through…then ‘the remedy for a broken heart (why am I so in love)’ came on…made me miss all my ex’s in one go! Understand that the longest song on this whole project is about 3:06, so how does he expect one to understand what he’s saying if he won’t even let us hear him?

Simple: Make Them Feel It.

For the first time in a while I got to understand why people cry when they stare at art, why fans of classical music listen when certain concertos and suites are played. The part of rap that we possibly have been missing. Feeling the music. You don’t have to hear Future how many times he like taking Xanax and such…but trust and believe he’s music can make you feel like you’re tripping. X did the same for me. Took me back to my feelings of Sing About Me/Dying of Thirst through the slow jam ‘changes’. Shit gets lit with Travis Barker on that ‘PAIN = BESTFRIEND’ joint. Finally, I suggest that all DJ’s look into play listing bangers ‘$$$’ and ‘null’ which features the fellow XXL Freshman PNB Rock.


Overall, it’s a gang thing to get the music on this album. It’s definitely an acquired taste. I’m happy to find that it made No.1 first week of release, and not to mention how he hasn’t been advertising it in everyone’s face so the placard is definitely organic. Still I’d give it a 6 out of 10, because unfortunately not everyone will like it…but don’t cry when you press play below.



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Written by Asanda Africander

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