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Report: Capitol Records President Defended Signing of XXXTentacion to Execs

XXXTentacion is better known to some for his criminal history instead of the raw, singer-songwriter take on rap that got him signed to a subsidiary label of Capitol Records called Caroline back in October. When that signing was made public, as revealed in a recent Los Angeles Times piece, Capitol president Steve Barnett tried to explain to “incensed” staffers that the label signed X (born Jahseh Onfroy) to the reported $6 million deal because, quite predictably, it aimed to increase its “market share” in the rap industry:

Indeed, Onfroy’s arrival at CMG incensed numerous staffers, according to four sources with knowledge of the signing, and it came up at a routine staff meeting with Capitol president Steve Barnett and top executives. In the meeting, two of the sources said, Barnett told executives that Onfroy’s surging popularity would help the company have a bigger market share in hip-hop and acknowledged the controversy around the artist, encouraging those with concerns to voice them.

Though XXXTentacion’s success so far is undeniable (his debut album 17 reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart), his history of alleged abuse makes it openly hard to cosign him. Onfroy’s alleged victim did not go on record with the Times, but an acquaintance, Talyssa Lee, did, and she recounted the damage: “With her [shirt] on you couldn’t see anything. She pulled up her shirt and underneath she looked like a Dalmatian the way the bruises were all over her body.” Perhaps the most damning bit was Lee’s summary of Onfroy’s personality, which, at least in part, enabled him to score his multimillion dollar deal. “He’s a very intelligent person, he’s not stupid,” Lee continued. “He’s charming — and calculating.”