Rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot to death this summer while awaiting trial for domestic violence, can be heard on an audio recording obtained by Pitchfork confessing not only to the abuse he was charged with—he pled not guilty and maintained his innocence until his death—but also to stabbing people in non-domestic violence contexts.
The audio came from the Miami-Dade county state attorney’s office, and was recorded by one of XXXTentacion’s acquaintances shortly after his initial arrest in October of 2016. XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and first degree witness tampering. Or, as XXXTentacion puts it on the recording,“fucking her up, bro”:
I put my source of happiness in another person, which was a mistake initially, right? But she fell through on every occasion until now. Until I started fucking her up, bro. But I started fucking her up because she made one mistake. And from there, the whole cycle went down.
As though a secret recording in which XXXTentacion talks glibly about abusing his significant other weren’t bad enough—according to Pitchfork, both prosecutors and his defense attorneys thought it was bad enough to treat as a confession—he also says that his girlfriend is right to fear for her life, because of unrelated incidents in which he claims to have stabbed “eight people” in Deerfield and another person in Orlando:
It’s on fucking New Times. I’m on New Times for stabbing, how many people did they put in the news? They said three—it was eight. In Deerfield. She knows that. She’s seen this shit. She saw when I came back from stabbing [redacted] in Orlando. She’s seen when I came back. Had a brand new laptop. No tears on my face, no remorse. I just knew I was going to jail. She knew. So she’s scared. She thinks I’m going to kill her.
Although XXXTentacion was never charged with stabbing people in Deerfield, there is a Sun-Sentinel story about a stabbing in Deerfield in Jan. 2016 which three people were wounded with non-life-threatening injuries. According to Pitchfork, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office report on the incident mentioned “an unknown black male with tattoos on his face swinging a knife in multiple directions.” Here’s an excerpt from the tape, which is 27 minutes long:
Along with his confession, XXXTentacion talked about the experiences that led him to a life of stabbing people at random and beating up pregnant women, including seeing “somebody get their tongue cut out” and seeing “somebody try to kill your mom.”
Every night you go to sleep and you remember what you seen and you remember how it felt and you remember that horrible feeling in your soul. Nobody can comfort you. It’s something I gotta deal with.
XXXTentacion’s career took off while he was in prison in 2017, and the charges against him led to a variety of controversies about whether it was ethical to listen to his music, especially since his rise to fame came after his criminal charges. Spotify banned him for violating their hateful conduct policy, then changed their rules to accommodate him after other musicians complained; Two weeks before his death, Tarpley Hitt published an outstanding profile of the rapper in the Miami New Times, a portrait of a short, violent life that gibes pretty well with the man on the newly-released recording. The criminal charges were closed after XXXTentacion’s death, which seems to have been caused by a robbery gone wrong; 22-year-old Dedrick D. Williams has been charged with first degree murder and grand theft.