Disclaimer: This article is for people who avoid XXXTentacion’s music due to his bad reputation, and if you’ve already done your research than this stuff may seem redundant. I also just wanted to discuss it in my own words because i think it’s a topic worth mentioning.
If you’ve been on the internet in the last few months (which you have), then you’ve probably heard about XXXTentacion’s multiple charges of assault, and that we still have no proof of X being guilty. People generally tend to avoid his music with the impression that he might be a massive a-hole, or just because they don’t like the style of music. However, this album has a lot to do with the state of X’s depression currently, partly due to everyone believing these crimes that he claims he didn’t commit. This is most prominently presented in the introduction song: “The Explanation“, where he’s talking to us, the listeners, letting us know that he does not “value your money”, he values the fans “loyalty and acceptance”. So that’s fair, I think this album needed an introduction just for the amount of extremely personal subject matter and emotions coursing through it. There’s been a lot of discussion about this track as being too whiney and drab ,when really; the entire album is in the same vein. I really enjoyed this album for being not just an emotional hip-hop album, but a confessional as well. Also, it seems that most mainstream rappers put out their music for goals such as relevancy, money, and hype in the rap hierarchy, where “17” serves a purpose for X that has nothing to do with any of those goals.
“17” is a mix of emotional, acoustic based songs featuring XXXTentacion’s singing vocals, and other songs showcasing his talent as a rapper in the more upbeat tracks such as the beautiful 2nd track: “Jocelyn Flores“. The hook and instrumental to this song is a mesmerizing, eerie sample of potsu’s “im closing my eyes”. This is an extremely well written and revealing song about Jocelyn Flores, a girl who X was friends with. Jocelyn was staying with X during a photo shoot in Florida when she committed suicide due to her battles and constant struggles with depression, and having not taken her medication that day. Because X was dealing with depression as well, this death caused him a ton of trauma and hit very close to home, but it also made him want to rise above and conquer his inner battles. As with the entire album, this track is short, and to the point, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing when the words he’s saying throughout are powerful and deep in meaning.
The song “Revenge” is an acoustic dedication to all those fallen and hurt by the pain of depression, written entirely by X. I really enjoyed this track, I thought he pulled off this acoustic, folk-like sound really well, and his singing is great in this song, adding a melancholic vibe to this emotional ballad. This sound repeats throughout the album in songs like “Save Me“, where X’s voice portrays desperation; an honest cry for help. This album shouldn’t be treated as a traditional hip-hop project, or even an album in a sense, it’s more of a tool to help mend the minds of anyone dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, so that’s why I decided to write this instead of a traditional review. This is a message that needs to be exposed as much as possible to let people who are alone in the world realize that there are people out there dealing with the same thing, and that there will always be hope and love out there in the world for you. It is so important to reach out to the people in your circle that maybe dealing with these emotions, and to help them in any way you can, before it’s too late. You may not enjoy the album for its sound, but it has an incredibly important message for our current society, and it’s something we all need to be aware of. Here’s is a note that XXXTentacion wrote about his battles, which is the album cover for the “Revenge” single, and the general theme of the entire album: