Controversial US rapper killed outside motorsports shop in Florida
US rapper XXXTentacion has been shot and killed during an apparent robbery attempt, according to police.
Authorities in Broward County, Florida, said the 20-year-old star, real name Jahseh Onfroy, was leaving a motorsports shop shortly before 4pm yesterday when he was approached by two armed men.
At least one of the men fired a shot before both suspects fled the scene in a “dark-coloured SUV”, said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Keyla Concepcion, who appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
XXXTentacion was declared dead after being rushed hospital. Fellow rappers and other high-profile figures took to social media to express their grief at the news.
Who was XXXTentacion?
XXXTentacion had a “troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music”, writes the BBC’s Mark Savage.
“He quickly became the most popular artist in the genre known as SoundCloud Rap, defined by its languid, hazy beats and wide-ranging influences,” Savage continues. “His surging popularity was noted by the music industry and, by October 2017, he had scored a distribution agreement reportedly worth $6m (£4.5m).”
XXXTentacion first found fame in 2017 with the song Look At Me!, which has been streamed more than 80 million times on Spotify. The video for the track proved highly controversial, depicting the rapper lynching a white child.
Despite widespread condemnation in the media, his debut album 17 and its follow-up, titled simply ?, reached No. 2 and No. 1 in the Billboard charts respectively.
By the age of 17, XXXTentacion had been charged with possession of a firearm, armed robbery, resisting arrest and Xanax possession. During his second stint in juvenile detention, he beat a cellmate whom he believed to be gay.
XXXTentacion was plagued by issues with the law in the years that followed too.
“At the same time as his career was beginning to flourish, Onfroy entered into a relationship with a woman who he violently abused,” The Guardiansays.
“According to court documents, he variously stomped on her head, held her head, strangled, kicked and punched her. He would also make repeated threats of suicide, often coming close to killing himself in front of her.
“Later, the woman became pregnant and Onfroy continued to brutally beat her and briefly kidnapped her. Onfroy was arrested for these crimes, as well as other charges and placed initially under house arrest and then in prison.”