Nearly six months before his death, the embattled 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion shared an urgent manifesto via Instagram Live. Eerily prescient, his words belied a sense of macabre resignation. “If I’m gonna die or ever be a sacrifice, I wanna make sure that my life made at least 5 million kids happy or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life,” said the rapper, born Jahseh Onfroy. “Regardless of the negative around my name, regardless of the bad things people say to me, I don’t give a fuck.”
Having summarily addressed “the negative,” he moved toward buttressing his persona as a potent if counterintuitive source of inspiration. The rapper, who at the time of his death was facing serious charges that included assault of a pregnant woman and witness harassment, trailed off into nearly Oprah-esque affirmations, talking about how he wanted his young fans, especially those dealing with mental illnesses, to live life without fear:
I know my goal in the end, and I know what I want for everyone, and I know what my message is. So I just wanted to say I appreciate and love all of you, and I believe in you all. Do not let your depression make you. Do not let your body define your soul. Let your soul define your body. Your mind is limitless. You are worth more than you could believe.
In the hours after Onfroy was shot and killed on Monday in his native Broward County, Florida, the video has circulated heavily on Twitter and Facebook. It is chilling to watch now. Young and tempestuous, the rapper seemed to sense that his time among the living would be short.