The Most Controversial Man in Rap is Free From Jail
Earlier this week, Jahseh Onfroy walked out of a Broward County, Fla. prison as a temporarily free man. Onfroy was not a regular inmate—he is better known as the rapper XXXTentacion, whose blown-out single “Look At Me!” has become rap’s latest and greatest viral sensation, racking up 45 million plays on Soundcloud and shooting up the Billboard Hot 100 as Onfroy sat in prison.
His alleged crimes are wide-ranging and serious, as this thorough Pitchfork report makes clear. In Broward, he was charged with home invasion and battery with a firearm, to which he plead no contest. On Tuesday he received a “withheld conviction,” was told to serve six years probation, and was released from jail. In Dade County, he has a more severe, and notorious, case. There, he has been charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering stemming from an incident involving his girlfriend at the time, to which he has pled not guilty. He’s been out on bail on those charges since December, though the Broward case kept him in jail, and will be in a Miami-Dade courthouse on May 1 for a hearing as the case moves forward.
The month in between now and then will be a busy one for the man more colloquially known as X. He has teased at least three new projects, and even before all that has a runaway single to ride and further promote. He also has a budding beef with Drake, who ripped off the “Look At Me” flow for More Life’s drab “KMT,” and then pretended he didn’t. X, in a post-jail interview with Miami’s 103.5 The Beat, said of Drake, via XXL:
“He is not a man. I think he’s a bitch, that’s a bitch move. Especially when I was in jail facing life, you know what I’m saying? If Drake would’ve came to my bond hearing, you know what I’m saying, that would’ve made my fucking day. If he had showed that he’s a hospitable person and that he’s really in this shit for the culture, rather than being a … taking my shit, running off with it and then putting it on his album, then he would’ve gotten my kudos, gotten my respect. I would’ve let him hop on the remix and take 100 percent royalty rate. I would’ve done it.”
The idea of Drake showing up for XXXTentacion’s bond hearing is… entirely unrealistic, of course, but X is nothing if not someone who feels free to speak his mind, as his early, harrowing interview on the popular rap podcast No Jumper indicated. (Adam22, host of No Jumper, also manages X.) And for that, a directness that is threaded completely through his sprawling discography, he has amassed a fervent following that is growing beyond just being a “cult,” with charges of extreme and heinous violence likely only further establishing his credibility as a rebel idol. With X staring at six years of probation, a domestic abuse trial, and a jail stint behind him that did nothing to impede his billowing popularity, this saga is only beginning.