Outlaws make other humans react two different ways; admiration or rejection. Sure some people are attracted to the hoodlum lifestyle, but in many cases, it is the subject of negativity. Love or hate.
But no matter which reaction is taken, the truth is hardly observed. Outlaws are still human beings. Their wrongdoings aren’t 100% of themselves, but people don’t care much about the reality. Prejudice.
XXXTentacion is generally viewed as an “outlaw”. The recent assault claim, numerous legal issues with jail times, many feuds, and controversies. And face tattoos. Only 20, less than 1-year career from his debut album, 17. Countless.
Those facts are enough reasons to select listeners. An honest story: I also laughed when I first saw XXXTentacion’s portrait with some tattoos on his young face with reading the news about his allegation of hitting a woman. Oh, boy. Damn, damn. I almost skipped listening to his new album. But wait a minute. I supposed to have an attitude of “fuck prejudice”. I am the owner of ‘”prejudice adjustment” web music journal. Let his music talk first, not his gossip.
Here is my answer: XXXTentacion’s second studio album, ?, easily laughs haters and stereotypes.
First, high quality. ? album is thickly concentrated with high-quality songs. ? album is so strong, each song is single material. This album contains 18 songs but is never dull. Short songs (typically 1:30-2:50) helps to make the album tight but each song’s high quality conquers all. No matter what type of songs they are, mellow or aggressive, catchiness is associated and makes songs characteristic. And better overall quality than his previous studio album while following the same musical direction. No question is visible with the quality improvement, unlike the album title.
Second, category. Aka, genre. XXXTentacion is typically categorized as a hip-hop artist. Indeed there is some hip-hop, but this album isn’t exactly hip-hop as well as the previous 17 album. Mainly occupied with sensitive R&B songs, ? album maintains a good balance between the different styles of songs. Aggressive rap with the massive rage (“Floor 555”), ghetto intellectual rap (=ghetto fabulous) that was long gone (“infinity (888)”), alternative metal influenced song (“Pain=BESTFRIEND” and “schizophrenia”), Latin element (“I don’t even speak Spanish lol”), etc. It is a stereotype to simply categorize XXXTentacion as a hip-hop artist though he has no genre boundaries. He proves one important thing with this album: good music is good music no matter what gender it is. And he shows his talent to organize a variety of genres in this 37 minutes product without being out of focus and making listeners bored. The track orders are thrilling.
This album is not difficult to understand. The introduction clearly states what XXXTentacion wants from the audience; opening mind about versatility. With “Introduction (instruction)” that he explains his goals of ? album, including being true to himself about his passion, love, appreciation, and loyalty, probably it is one of the easiest albums get to know before listening. XXXTentacion doesn’t try to choose listeners. He is humble telling those audiences who haven’t listened alternative sound to open their mind before listening. Being prejudice or not, it’s listeners’ choice.
Before a troublemaker, XXXTentacion is a genius. He beautifully knows what he wants to do with his music. He has a lot of potentials to do a much bigger thing. A lot of improvement from his previous album is a proof.
This albums also gave me an impression that probably he spent a lonely childhood. That might be the reasons for his troubles and sensitivity. Both can be on the same page.
Do you see the truth?
OVERALL POINTS: 90/100
- Songs: ★★★★★
- Originality: ★★★★+1/2
- Thrills: ★★★★★
- Song orders: ★★★★★
- Vocal: ★★★★
- Background: ★★★★
- Production: ★★★★
- Strong songs: “Moonlight”, “SAD!”, “Floor 555”, “Numb”, “infinity (888)”, “going down!”, “Pain=BESTFRIEND”, “$$$”
EXTRA (NOT COUNTED TOWARD THE OVERALL POINTS)
- Title: C
- Album cover: B