This year will not go quietly. XXXTentacion, who was murdered in June at age 20, will have a new album posthumously released next month. Skins, rumored to be only ten songs spanning 17 minutes, is set for release on December 7; its first single, “BAD!” is out now. (He was said to have been working on the album prior to his death, and intimated that it would have been short.) XXXTentacion had released his sophomore album, ?, earlier this year in March, becoming the first-ever album from a SoundCloud rapper to go No. 1. Following his unexpected death, his song “SAD!” also rose to No. 1, becoming the first posthumous No. 1 since Biggie. Since X’s death, he’s had music released by way of features on songs by Lil Wayne, Lil Pump and Skrillex, and Lil Peep, another late SoundCloud rapper who also has a posthumous album out today. Meanwhile, X has been submitted for multiple Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist.
At the time of X’s murder, he was awaiting trial for allegedly brutally attacking his then-pregnant girlfriend in 2016. In a secretly taped conversation recorded after his arrest and released last month, X is heard confessing to both that abuse and to stabbing eight people. On Thursday, Pitchfork released the transcripts of phone calls recorded while X was jailed in 2016 for the abuse charges in which he’s heard again alluding to violence. “Even if I did some shit like that, to you or anyone around you, bruh, I know you wouldn’t go put me in fucking jail,” he tells a different woman on one of the calls. He claimed that the alleged victim “got jumped” and denied falsely imprisoning her, while also saying in the same breath that he recalled her escaping. “How did I keep you hostage if you managed to leave, you fucking bitch, bruh?” he tells another woman on the call. “I was in the fucking living room playing Minecraft with my fucking fans, and this bitch disappears.”
He’s also heard telling a woman on a call that he’s not threatening her, but is then later recorded threatening her with violence. “Somebody need to beat [her] up … I loved every second of that because you could hear the fear.” He also said that he shouldn’t be prosecuted because he’s weird. “If my fucking prosecutor ever plays these phone calls, it’s over with. They’re going to be like, ‘We’re not prosecuting him. He deserves to be free. He’s a strange young fellow.’” In a call to his mother, X again is optimistic about his freedom: “You gotta stop speaking like there’s still no chance. There’s still a chance. I’m not dead yet.”