XXXTENTACION leaves much to be desired with new album ?

The album cover for XXXTENTACIONs ?

The album cover for XXXTENTACION’s ?

Tony Yacavone, Staff Writer

XXXTENTACION has become one of the most popular rappers since early 2017. While he did  have a small loss of support over his last album 17, X still had a massive fan base that was eager to see his next project. As of March 16th, 2018, X released his second album ?. After listening to the 18 songs that make up it up, the album ended up feeling empty and void of all substance.

During 2017, X received large amount of praise based on music he made before his first album. From grim hard hitting songs like “Look At Me” to simple monotone sad songs like “I don’t want to do this anymore”, it appeared that most people could find a few songs that they enjoyed from the vast amount of genres X made music in. With ?, it’s almost as if X cannot appeal to any genre or person at all.

Most of the songs that make up ? are practically identical. X sings in the same uninteresting and boring tone as his previous album, with most lyrics surrounding heartbreak, which he has already done on multiple tracks in the past. In the few songs where he is not doing this, he is either angrily yelling about his life, or about his large ego. One instance of this is a line from “infinity (888)” where he says “I am the realest since Kennedy.”

In terms of the track listing, the songs do not flow into each other at all. One second X will be singing sadly about his girlfriend, and the next he is rapping and screaming about hurting people. While you could make the claim that X’s sadness is manifesting into anger, that becomes untrue when the sound goes back to the previous style. There is no progression, or narrative to accompany this album; nothing changes, no realizations are made. Every song could be released as a single, and it would not make any difference in their meanings.

During this album, some songs rehash the same lyrics from previous ones. This is something that artists can use to display a new meaning to a previous work of theirs, but with this album being completely devoid of meaning, it just feels like recycled laziness. Also, most of the songs are incredibly short, being for the most part 1-2 minutes long which may explain the lack of substance from each song.

The features on this album are nothing special and are also almost non-existent. While Joey Bad does have a solid verse on “Infinity (888)”, the majority of the other features make the song worse. The song “$$$” is more of a Matt Ox song than an X song, with it mostly being Ox talking about his wealth. On the song “SMASH!” PnB Rock sounds almost identical to X due to them having the same auto tune effect on their voices.

Overall, it appears that with ?, XXXTENTACION was trying to focus more on sound and less on lyrics. Unfortunately, he is just not a good enough singer nor artist to make any song on this album worth listening to.

I’d give this album a 3/10, which is actually egregious since I am a huge fan of X’s older music, and the bar for this album was set incredibly low after his previous one. It leaves so much to be desired, and nothing is gained in X’s career through this album. While there are songs that are somewhat enjoyable, the second one looks deeper into them they become meaningless.