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The late rapper XXXTentacion (real name Jahseh Onfroy) had a turbulent but relatively quick climb to prominence that was marred by troubling acts of violence and significant legal problems. Despite a video showing XXX punching a fan in the head with a microphone at the Rolling Loud Festival in Mountain View, California, he inked a record deal believed to be worth a staggering $6 million. He was awaiting trial on domestic abuse charges from 2016, including aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering, at the time of his death in June 2018. Taking in the full scope of these events is difficult and overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a timeline to try to make sense of the situation.
From 1998 through 2011, XXXTentacion lived in South Florida’s Lauderhill and Pompano Beach. He said his mother “had it hard” and occasionally stayed with his grandma. In an interview with the No Jumper podcast, he explained, “My mom was just in situations where she couldn’t take care of me.” He became involved in violent circumstances at a young age. He claimed, “I’ve been fighting ever since I was a youngster.” He tried to stab a man who was “messing” with his mother when he was just 6 years old. Additionally, he was expelled for fighting from his first middle school.
In his early teenage years, he developed a passion for music. He was drawn to nu-metal and hard rock as well as rap and tried to teach himself how to play the guitar and the piano. In middle school, he said his aunt and mother tried to encourage this interest by signing him up for chorus, but he eventually got kicked out of the program for punching a classmate.
2012–2014: XXXTentacion attends high school at Piper High School in Sunrise, Florida, before dropping out in the tenth grade. Around this time, he says, he recorded and released a song, but there is no record of it online.
Sometime in 2013–2014, XXXTtentacion spends around nine months to a year in a juvenile-detention center for a gun possession charge. During this time he meets fellow rapper Ski Mask the Slump God. After being released, the two go on to collaborate on several projects.
XXXTentacion posts his debut song to SoundCloud in March 2014. The song’s name is “Vice City.”
On SoundCloud, he makes available another EP titled Heartbreak Hotel on February 3, 2015.
Late 2014 sees the independent internet release of two EPs by XXXTentacion titled The Fall and Ice House. Later on, he takes them down from SoundCloud.
XXXTentacion and Ski Mask the Slump on April 20, 2015, A collaborative EP by God titled Members Only Vol. 1 is available.
Members Only Vol. 2 is an EP that XXXTentacion and Ski Mask released on October 23.
According to court records, XXXTentacion is accused of conducting a home invasion, robbery, and aggravated violence on November 16, 2015.
On December 31, 2015, XXXTentacion’s debut hit single, “Look at Me,” debuted on SoundCloud.
January 29: “Look at Me” gets an official release as a digital download. While its SoundCloud numbers continue to grow, the single doesn’t enter the Billboard charts for another ten-and-a-half months.
April 24: XXXTentacion does his first long-form interview on the hip-hop podcast No Jumper (which Jon Caramanica of the New York Times has described as “The Paris Review for the face-tattoo set”). He discusses his troubled past and time in juvenile detention. He includes a very graphic story about beating up a cellmate, whom he refers to as a “faggot,” describing every violent act in gruesome detail. After mentioning that he wiped the man’s blood on his face, Adam22, (full name Adam Grandmaison), the BMX rider and hip-hop podcast host, contributes an equally disturbing response — “Warpaint. That’s tight,” he says.
Mid-May: According to a testimony obtained by Pitchfork in September of this year, XXXTentacion and his (former) girlfriend (and alleged domestic-abuse victim) first met.
Late May: The first instance of domestic violence allegedly takes place. According to his ex-girlfriend’s testimony, XXXTentacion threatened to penetrate her vagina with a “barbecue cleaner” or a “barbecue fork.”
July: XXXTentacion and his then-girlfriend move to Orlando.
Mid-July (approximately): The second incident of alleged domestic violence occurs. XXXTentation allegedly kicked, punched, tackled, and “stomped on” his ex-girlfriend, because he heard her singing another artist’s song, the testimony in Pitchfork states. He also threatened to “cut out,” her tongue, the victim said.
August 9: XXXTentacion is arrested for his 2015 robbery and assault charges. He is held at Broward Regional Detention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
September 16: XXXTentacion agrees to house arrest, and is released from jail. Soon after, he allegedly assaults his ex-girlfriend again after she confesses to sleeping with another man. According to her testimony, he put a knife to her throat, strangled her “a little bit,” and threatened to hit her with a glass bottle.
Late September: XXXTentacion and his then-girlfriend move to Sweetwater, Florida. XXXTentacion is accused of strangling her on two occasions around this time, the testimony in Pitchfork states.
Early October: XXXTentaction’s ex-girlfriend finds out that she is pregnant with his child.
October 6–8: Over the course of two days, several instances of domestic violence allegedly take place. According to XXXTentacion’s ex-girlfriend’s testimony, he threatened to kill her and her unborn child before elbowing, punching, and kicking her. When she asked other residents of the pair’s apartment to take her to the hospital, XXXTentacion refused to let her leave. She recalls him saying that she needed to wait until her face (which was severely beaten) had healed. XXXTentacion and his housemates then drive her to another apartment, where they leave her in a bedroom and confiscate her phone. She is trapped there for two days until, on October 8, she manages to escape and contact the police.
On October 8, XXXTencacion is taken into custody in Miami-Dade County and charged with witness tampering, false detention, aggravated abuse on a pregnant woman, and domestic battery by strangling. Even though he enters a not-guilty plea, Broward County detains him for breaking the terms of his home detention. The domestic abuse accusations trial is scheduled to begin on May 1. (this trial later gets pushed back to October 5, and then December 11).
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