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Why I support XXXTentacion

Internets, Millennials' support of XXXTentacion might be the only cool or interesting thing they've e

Life in a Shanty Town

September 22 · Issue #22 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

Millennials’ support of XXXTentacion might be the only cool or interesting thing they’ve ever done. I really am proud of them.
They read the bullshit think pieces on sites like DJ Booth and Vulture, on how trying to prevent domestic violence by virtue signaling on the Internets is a worthwhile use of one’s time, and they were like, “Fuck that shit!” They’d rather just continue listening to that song “Look at Me” and let XXXTentacion’s victims fend for themselves.
Tentacion’s album, 17, which may or may not be named for the age of consent in my native Missouri, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, behind only the comparatively less dangerous (and hence less interesting to me personally) Lil Uzi Vert.
This was two weeks ago, but as I’m writing this it’s still hanging tough in the top 10, at number six, two spots below Lil Uzi Vert. Action Bronson, meanwhile, debuted outside of the top 50, the same week as Tentacion and Uzi Vert, and was already off the chart a week later.
Granted, this is a Billboard chart in 2017, so who knows what’s going on with it. Some of these younger acts obviously benefit from broke children who don’t have shit else better to do than continuously stream their music for free on YouTube, which counts towards Billboard. They can’t possibly make much money from that.
Still, as my old man might put it, the number six album in the country is the number six album in the country. XXXTentacion is currently selling more records (er, the streaming equivalent of such) than Rihanna, Drake and Bruno Mars.
Tentacion’s career is popping right now despite the fact that he’s been accused of beating the shit out of his pregnant girlfriend. An article in Pitchfork the other day details the allegations better than I can—or with more effort than I’m willing to put forth, anyway. If you haven’t already, you should have a look.
Suffice it to say that the abuse Tentacion has been accused of goes far beyond slapping his girlfriend on occasion, when she says something stupid, or when she puts too much money on his credit card (that he won’t be paying off anyway). It’s almost as if he’s trying to kill her, and in fact, he’s been accused of threatening to end her pregnancy the old fashioned way, i.e. using his foot.
The Pitchfork article only hit the Internets a week after 17 was released, possibly as part of an agreement between Conde Nast and Tentacion’s label, but his fans probably already knew about his, erm, choice of disciplinary methods. As pointed out in a stupefyingly conflicted review, also at Pitchfork, they’ve been trolling his girlfriend on social media. Which is rude.
Tentacion became famous in the first place when the aforementioned “Look at Me” took off on Soundcloud while he was locked up for pistol-whipping someone during a home invasion, which causes me to wonder why he was free to beat the shit out of his girlfriend in the first place. You do more time than he did, here in St. Louis, for driving around with expired plates.
I can’t approve of kids on Twitter adding insult to the injuries Tentacion’s girlfriend has already suffered, posting pictures of her face looking like a side of beef in Rocky, but I appreciate the fact that they’re not letting the Hipster Music Mafia dictate what music they’re allowed to listen to.
So what, Tentacion is like a miniature OJ, and might actually be one of the Juice’s illegitimate children from his days selling bootleg cable boxes down in Florida. Many great musicians have been wife-beaters, pedophiles, drug addicts and homosexuals (if you don’t approve of that sort of thing). If you were to get rid of all the degenerates in your CD collection, you’d only be left with Stryper albums.
Joe Budden, who’s been accused of domestic violence by multiple women, didn’t just threaten to cause his girlfriend to have a miscarriage. According to ‘00s-era video model (if you will) Esther Baxter, he actually went through with it, choking her out, throwing her to the ground and then sitting on her stomach. He’s since been named Chief Cultural Director at Complex.
To their credit, I consuluted the Google, and I couldn’t find any anti-Tentacion think pieces on Complex. They’re out here playing 4D Chess. They can’t make any more money from banner ads, and Budden’s show Everyday Struggle is their only video product to get any kind of traction at all on the Internets. You’re probably not allowed to mouth the words domestic violence in the Complex building. The question is, will the anti-Tentacion crowd continue to cash checks from Complex? Let’s see how serious you fruits are.
But I digress.
Trying to combat domestic violence via strategic deployment of disapproving remarks on Twitter, or some bullshit blog, is not just gay, in the 1990s sense of the term, but it could be dangerous. If XXXTentacion really did put a shoe on his girlfriend, which maybe he did (I wasn’t there, and neither were you), he needs to be in jail, and the way you get someone locked up is to report an incident to the police, not shame someone on the Internets.
Beyond understanding the futility of urging people not to buy someone’s album, at a time when it’s probably not even possible to *buy* an album, today’s young people seem to possess a genuine lack of concern for social mores that I find to be truly admirable. They don’t feel obligated to play by the rules of a system that can’t do anything for them. You can’t threaten to have them fired from their jobs, because they know better than to think they’ll ever find meaningful work.
An article in the Washington Post the other day breaks down how today’s youth could give a rat’s ass about drinking and driving a car—easily the two most expensive things that I do. In some ways, I think they’re smarter than I was. Certainly, they’re smarter than people out here trying to play Rap Morality Police. They know better than to fall for the traps set out for them by their elders. Hence their lack of support for Hillary in 2016.
If they had better taste in music, they’d be dangerous.
Take it easy on yourself,

Social Upheaval
The past few weeks, here in the STL, have been more like July or August than September … which has made for excellent weather for blocking traffic, throwing things at the police and breaking shop windows, to protest the latest acquittal in a police shooting trial.
In my latest blog post, I break down why people are so upset.
Did I leave a cigarette lit?
Citizen Food Journalism
Bonefish Grill is part of a chain owned by the same company that owns Outback, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, so on and so forth, so this might be the rare occasion when I write about a restaurant you can actually visit, if you’re fortunate enough to not live here in the STL.
Bonefish Grill
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