It’s been a while, sorry. I can only assume you’ve managed to muddle through without me. I’ve been busier than usual lately and with a well known football competition exceeding all expectations I haven’t really found the time or inclination to do a scrap of anything else. Fortunately I have been roused from my torpor to rattle off a few hundred words about the unfortunate existence, demise and legacy of XXXTentacion. Who he? Well, whoever he was he’s dead now and quite frankly you’re quite within your rights to not give a toss.
You see XXXTentacion is, sorry was, an American rapper who in his short 20 years had managed to accumulate a rather substantial amount of controversy, the kind of controversy that comes with being a first class, top drawer, full fat bell-end. The reports I’ve read of him don’t make good reading at all. I can sympathise with the fact he had a troubled childhood but sadly the knock on effect generated a truly fucked up young man. Fortunately he found a sweet release when he was shot dead in his car in Florida on the 18th of June. On the sunny side he is now on top of the Billboard charts and he also has 3 singles in the UK top 40. If only he’d just waited a bit longer to get shot dead in his car he might be enjoying his posthumous success. Perhaps if he’d been good in the first place he wouldn’t have needed to have been shot dead in his car to sell more records.
As we are now used to, the Twitter twat tributes have been flooding in from the likes of Kanye West – “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing”. Touching, I’m sure, and in need of a comma, though it does sound a bit like Kanye was making that up. He has a mouth and opinion that could envelop an asteroid belt and yet it never once occurred to him to mention out loud how frightfully inspired he was by the daft, dead, fraggle-headed waste of semen? Perhaps he was inspired by the time XXXTentacion beat up his juvenile detention cell mate because he thought he was gay. Maybe he should have asked him first, just to be sure. Or perhaps Kanye fucking West was inspired to the core when XXXTentacion went to prison for armed robbery and then later faced charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and false imprisonment.
To be honest I’m inspired too. I’m inspired by the way that Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (yes, he was a Dwayne) came up with a stage name that means less than nothing. Unless you’re fluent in Spanish. I know I’m a middle aged, middle class white arsehole but I can’t be alone in thinking that he really could have done a bit better. How about XXXaggressivetalentlessarserag? Or XXXworthlesscock? Anyway the fact is that he was a bit of a shit and probably should have been shot in his car quite a lot earlier; though still a couple of chin stroking pricks at the BBC question whether he should be remembered “as a young, troubled genius taken too soon, or as a violent abuser who didn’t deserve his fame”. Well the latter seems pretty bloody obvious to me.
History is littered with utter bastards and the general rule is that you’re better off not giving too much lip service to their artistic qualities. I one went to a Chapman Brothers exhibition which featured a few colour-by-number paintings by Adolf Hitler. They were rubbish, but that was the point. Lord knows what other criminal master-twats get up to in their jail cells. Before you know it we’ll all be reading the next romantic novel by Peter Sutcliffe or 4 volumes of environmental poetry written by Fred West just before he died. Perhaps Harold Shipman was a particularly gifted wildlife photographer.
It’s a dodgy area; I expect quite a lot of musicians have done some pretty questionable stuff, but I vote that if you’re a repeatedly proven nasty little turd, just like what XXX@Dick#Head was, then you don’t get to be rich and famous and adored by people with not a single atom of good taste in music. If you invested heavily in the art work of Rolf Harris before his rock got turned over then I’m sorry for your loss, but it doesn’t change the fact he turned out to be a bitter disappointment in every way. Imran Rahman-Jones and Sinead Garvan at the BBC ask “can we separate the art from the artist?”, something they refer to, with perhaps a touch too much gravitas, as an “age-old question”. The answer to that is not mine to give but what makes it easier in the case of XXXTentacion is that his songs are, generally speaking, a bit shit. If you’re going to pretend he didn’t deserve to be shot dead in his car at least have the decency to admit he had a gift for music that could quite easily be bested by a pair of angry wasps in a cigar tube. Even calling him an ‘artist’ is a considerable stretch in the wrong direction. I think ‘criminal’ is the word you’re after.
G B Hewitt. 30.06.2018