After a long period of controversy, silence and pissed rap fans, Xxxtentacion’s debut studio album, 17, is here. A mere 22 minutes long, the XXL Freshman strays away from his now infamous style of rap, which gets compared to Nu-Metal and other Rap-Punk fusions. Stripping away his bass heavy music, X pulls through with a surprisingly clean and laid back project that reflects more than it projects.
Opening with the terribly recorded “The Explanation” that informs the listener of what to come and features X on the verge of crying while describing the depressing mood of the album. However, this misstep is immediately recovered with the spectacular “Jocelyn Flores”, a major highlight on the record. The song, like others, features Shiloh, a mysterious figure whose music was floating around the internet with their hidden identity still being secret. The acoustic samples used here and songs like “Everyone Dies In The Nighttime” and “Carry On” bring an eerie and melancholy feel that makes the album incredibly unique.
Other than that and the fantastic “Fuck Love” featuring Ohio rapper Trippie Redd, the album illustrates a whiny and angsty rapper whose lyrics are best avoided for the best listening experience. The last two tracks are ballads, with “Orlando” talking about his arrest and how we should feel bad for him.
Overall, as much as the lyrics pain me, the sound and vibe of this album is unique enough for me to redeem and enjoy it. The acoustic guitars paired with the lo-fi drums makes for a great combination, and I hope X continues experimenting with his music.