“N****s like 35 and still tryna catch the wave,” XXXtentacion said during his Snapchat broadcast Tuesday night. Aimed at Migos member Offset, X is angry with the Georgia spitter for “calling out” rappers who worship the devil through wearing upside down crosses, and belittled Offset by poking fun at his age. Only in Hip Hop is a 25-year-old viewed as “old”.
In most vocations, 25 is just passed an entry-level job, and well short of any real, impactful position. But for the 19-year-old internet upstart, who’s enjoying millions upon millions of SoundCloud plays and electrifying shows with A$AP Rocky (who’s 28 by the way), if you’re not a teenage sensation, then you’re washed-up. Excuse me while I go re-evaluate my life choices...
Offset and X’s contentious rivalry began when the latter called out Drake for biting his “Look At Me” flow on the More Life hit, “KMT”. Offset defended the 6 god by telling X in an IG live video, “How you unheard of talking about a nigga stole your swag? We ain’t even heard of you, shorty.” Drake, who’s known for adopting styles to bolster his palatability, vehemently rejected the claims by saying, “It’s crazy that people think that after all this time, that I’m the type of person to take some song and make it my own. I’m not stupid. I’m not a shit person like that.” It’s a difficult situation.
While evidence contradicts Drake’s statement—from his appropriation of Jamaican culture to ostensibly stealing D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha” for “Fake Love”—it almost seems that X is trying incite drama for the sake of increasing his reputation and brand power, not to rectify wrongdoings. Sure, he’s entitled to feeling exploited, as “KMT” does bear a resemblance to “Look At Me”, but his abrasiveness and incessant rapper call outs weaken his credibility by making him appear sophomoric and annoying—they really show his age.
Naturally, I’m biased here: I’m an avid Drake and Migos supporter, and I don’t really get X’s appeal. I applaud the Miami-based musician for his individuality, creativity, and genre-bending style, but his callous disposition makes him unlikable. Side note: can we please not forget that he’s awaiting trial for allegedly beating his pregnant ex-girlfriend? Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but his track record doesn’t bode well for him. Regardless of legal issues, I personally find it offensive that this relatively unknown artist thinks his blossoming popularity justifies verbally accosting more established musicians. It makes him appear bitter, juvenile, and ultimately, ignorant.
In February, X tweeted, “drakes career is almost over, he better start investing money into real-estate cause once it’s all over he really gonna see the “fake love”.” More Life’s 600-million+ first-week streams, along with other streaming records, beg to differ. At 30-years-old, Drake is arguably the world’s most ubiquitous pop-star, and much like LeBron James, he only seems to improve with age. His numbers are soaring; he’s one of Hip Hop’s most versatile artists; he will be grouped in the legendary category when all’s said and done. Know your place, X.
One of the more baffling aspects of X’s recent Snapchat rant is his praise for Quavo—who is 26, one-year older than Offset. If X truly understood what Quavo and Migos represent, then he would understand that Quavo will always defend his bandmate, and won’t ever work with someone threatening his family. Creating friction with Migos is a jeopardizing career move. Migos are frequently regarded as one of music’s hottest groups due to their innovative style that is highly susceptible to “culture vultures”; their clout also far exceeds the “Revenge” rapper’s. Shit, even Katy Perry collaborated with them—I’m actually not sure if that’s a check in the win column…
X seems like a man of intense pride who will do anything to project an air of rebellion. I understand that he comes from impoverished conditions, and by no means am I calling him a charlatan—I simply think that he needs to curtail his rants and learn some respect (fuck, I sound old). His impulsive behavior compromises his rational thinking, leading to potentially career-threatening callouts, and widens the divide between him and prospective fans. Then again, he probably doesn’t care what non-supporters think. Yes, he has an intense cult-following, but that doesn’t make him impervious to stagnation and decline.
XXXtentacion’s youth is a double-edged sword. People love seeing a kid make intense waves, but his immature rants might turn into unfortunate life lessons if he’s not careful. While he might not experience any direct repercussions from calling out Offset and Drake today or tomorrow, he'll possibly need their support in the future—their powers extend beyond just themselves.
I hope that X continues to push the musical envelope, but I hope that he treads cautiously. Fans and respected artists will defend Drake and Migos before staking their reputations on an unproven kid who’s at risk of becoming an “old head” behind bars. Think it through, X.