To accompany the drop of his new album, 17, at the end of August, XXXTentacion provided us with a release of a new music video to further promote his album and speak out about current issues. Featuring tracks “Look at Me!” and “Riot”, the artist accompanies his songs with corresponding imagery.
The video opens with the song that sparked XXX’s fame, “Look at Me!”. The rapper plays with animation and humor while conversing with some sort of angel adorned with a dildo on her forehead. Cut to a chaotic classroom riot scene, where the teacher is repeatedly slapped with more sex toys. Even though the title infers the video is for this particular song, it features less than the first verse of lyrics. There is then a sharp cut to XXX and two friends hanging from gold chains in the trees with a switch in background track to “Riot”. This dynamic change in tone and topic allows the setting of each song to match their individual tones, keeping the first scene to chaotic humor, followed by a total concept flip.
Video synapses of racially-charged crimes are presented with the same emotion held in the lyrics. He mentions the tragedies of Emmett Till, Philando Castile, Rodney King, and Heather Heyer. Attention is drawn to the brutality and confusion involved in these situations and gives tribute to the fallen. The mayhem is interrupted by an eerily silent setting on a stage, setting up the controversial scene of XXX hanging a young white boy while having a young black boy watch.
He concludes with a poetic explanation of the scenes from his video, speaking out against racial violence and bringing attention to the potential of younger generations, who can learn from a world without violence.
“Murder is murder, whether you’re black or white. You should always feel free to voice your opinion but to act out on these irrational thoughts in any way, shape, or form is disgusting.”
Some are left with racing thoughts and a socially conscious outlook, while others view the video as insensitive and still a promotion of violence. The artist has taken much criticism on social media and has even received threats from the KKK. He shared on a recently deleted Instagram post that the goal of this video was to get the public talking about current issues.
“The video was made to reach these people to show ‘you’ they’re response, and it did exactly what is was supposed to.”
This stand against violence may seem ironic due to the recent negative press surrounding his domestic abuse trial and his manner of responses, yet this video brings some very strong sentiments and bold statements to the table. He is using his fame to speak about what he believes in, and using his music as a platform to do so. Is it possible to separate a person’s life decisions from their art?
Watch while XXX continues to make moves while awaiting his trial on October 6th.
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