Kanye West is releasing merchandise to celebrate rapper XXXTentacion's posthumous album Skins

Rapper, whose life was marked by controversies involving alleged domestic abuse, violence and homophobia, has a posthumous album being released this week

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Wednesday 05 December 2018 10:49
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XXXTentacion spoke of his 'tragic death' in Instagram video before being killed

Kanye West is releasing merchandise to promote the late, controversial rapper XXXTentacion’s forthcoming posthumous album, Skins.

The album’s tracklist, announced earlier this week, revealed that West will feature on the song “One Minute”.

Shortly after XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Florida during an apparent robber, West praised the rapper's music and cited him as an inspiration. He is now releasing a three-piece apparel capsule in honour of their collaborative song “One Minute”.

West's clothing brand Yeezy will launch the collection at the official album release party for Skins, which will take place at RC Cola Plant in Miami on Thursday 6 December.

The merchandise will be printed on Yeezy blank T-shirts with fresh graphics by Emmy award-winning designer JJ Villard.

The XXXTentacion Foundation and Empire will host the event and livestream it for fans from 9pm EST. Rappers Trippie Redd, PnB Rock, Ski Mask the Slump God, Matt Ox, Members Only and others are scheduled to perform.

XXXTentacion’s life was marked by several high profile controversies, including allegations of domestic abuse, violence and homophobia.

Before his death, the rapper – real name Jahseh Onfroy – was facing several charges related to a 2016 incident in which he allegedly beat up his pregnant ex-girlfriend. He was charged with the aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness tampering.

Although he pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence up until he was shot and killed this summer, the Miama-Dade attorney's office has said that prosecution and defence considered audio that was leaked in October this year to be a confession.

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The 27-minute recording revealed by Pitchfork showed XXXTentacion talking with acquaintances around the time of his arrest on 8 October, 2016.

Discussing his ex-girlfriend, who he believed had cheated on him, he is heard saying: “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 f***ing her up bruh. I started f***ing her up because she made one mistake. And from there, the whole cycle went down. Now she's scared. That girl is scared for her life. Which I understand.”

XXXTentacion did not detail what he had done to the alleged victim. Earlier in the recording, he said: “I will kill that bitch if she play with me.”

In addition to the threats against his ex-girlfriend, XXXTentacion is also heard referring to a stabbing incident in Deerfield Beach, Florida, commenting: “I'm on [Miami] New Times for stabbing – how many people they put in the news? They said three, it was eight.”

On 21 January 2016, a local Florida newspaper reported that police were “searching for the person who stabbed three people during a fight in Deerfield Beach.”

There is no record of any person being charged with the stabbing, but a County Sheriff's Office report from the incident states a witness “saw an unknown black male with tattoos on his face swinging a knife in multiple directions”.

XXXTentacion also admitted to stabbing his former manager – an incident he was arrested for in Orange County, Florida, on 14 July 2016, before being released on bond shortly after.

The rapper experienced a tumultuous but rapid rise to success from 2016 to his death this year, despite the allegations of domestic violence against him, as well as other disturbing incidents including one in which he claimed to have beat up a cellmate – whom he referred to as a “faggot” – because he was “staring” at XXXTentacion.

The criminal charges against XXXTentacion were closed after his death.

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