Though the headlines and shots at XXXTentacion continue to pile up beyond his tragic June death, his team has worked twice as hard to ensure his imprint on music lives on as well. News of his posthumous album SKINS came out soon after he passed, and though the general public was seemingly confused about whether they could pay him respects after his death given all he did while alive, core fans anticipated another collection of emotional and transparent music.
At 10 songs, nine of which fall under three minutes, the LP is yet another display of his ability to rap, croon, and go full on screamo. Even his inaudible comments are powerful. The intro and muddied vocals of “Guardian angel” set a somber scene before he comes in with aggressive bars about preserving peace and apologizing to a woman for what he did wrong to her.
Kanye West pops up for the heavy metal-sounding “One Minute” paying his respects to the fallen rapper, defending his wrongdoings, and expressing his desires to be met at the gates by XXX. The move certainly doesn’t come as a shock given Ye’s recent behavior, and though supporting XXX is problematic for many it seems like he had an impact on Kanye in a time where he really needed it.
Tracks like “whoa (mind in awe)” and “I don’t let go” carry a bouncy, upbeat bop to them though he clearly sounds in pain. “STARING AT THE SKY” actually sounded like he was being stuck with pins or something, but the heavy rock elements makes it make a lot more sense. The ability hear to sonically entrance listeners while simultaneously carrying a message of strife is of course very characteristic of the “SAD!” rapper, but something about it coming posthumously makes it more haunting. “what are you so afraid for” is admittedly a tear-jerker, and a strong final seal to the entire package that is SKINS.
The pop label attributed to this album is apt, as the Florida rapper had become a huge figure alive and his existence only grows despite he’s no longer here. He provided a sound for everyone that was actually looking to tune into the album. We respect all opinions, and certainly do not look to promote his content nor dissuade listeners from consuming it. The album was a unique sonic experience, and further pushed XXXTentacion into his own lane musically. The coincidence of an artist being surrounded by so much controversy, being signed to a label titled Bad Vibes Forever, and being such a figure for fighting anxiety and personal demons is beyond comprehension. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is up for interpretation.
Stream SKINS below.