By BELINDA KUO
XXXTentacion’s new album SKINS has got fans going “whoa (mind in awe).”
On December 7th, rapper XXXTentacion’s new album SKINS was released following his death on June 18, 2018. SKINS picks up where XXX’s last album, ?, left off. The album is relatively short, with 10 songs and only one song over 3 minutes, totaling 19 minutes.
According to producer John Cunningham, many of the songs in SKINS were already completed before XXX’s passing. The difference between unfinished and completed songs in the album were merely small yet specific things he wanted, such as a feature from Kanye West on the song “One Minute” or children’s choir on the song “what are you so afraid of.” XXX already finished recording his parts on these songs, but was waiting to add more to these songs to make them even better.
Overall, SKINS is a good representation of his talent and serves as a final farewell to fans mourning his death.
The songs have a deeper meaning and give us a glimpse of what was going through his head. For example, “Introduction” literally states “Wanting to disappear to a place you could feel outside of your skin? Well, you’ve found one: a place within my mind.”
Furthermore, the album is separated into three concepts, representing transformation. The first part represents darkness, the second part represents the completion of the transformation, and the last part represents the light.
These three concepts are expressed explicitly through the titles of the songs and the lyrics, allowing fans to get a sneak glimpse at what XXX thought of when writing the lyrics. He conveys his ideas thoroughly through the catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics that encourage fans to contemplate their own thoughts through his well-written lyrics.
With themes such as self-harm, depression, love and death, fans can truly get a glimpse of what XXX went through and allows us to appreciate his talent even when singing even about the hardest topics to talk about in everyday life. Fans can listen to the lyrics and relate or build off their own interpretations of what or who these songs may represent.
In addition, these three concepts allow for a variety of tunes and styles of songs in the album. There are songs such as “Guardian Angel” that incorporate softer notes such as acoustics and piano, while there are also hard rock songs with electronic touches such as “One Minute.” The variety allows listeners to be exposed to all different types of music and allows each song to have individuality, which as a whole makes the album unique.
Moreover, XXX tries many new styles, including metal rock, showcasing his talent for various categories. XXX was not afraid to sing his heart out in a more mellow song, or spit out a fast rap in another song. He showcased his best talent through all the different styles, allowing him to gain more fans from a variety of genres. The talent of the passed rapper is unquestionable, and he puts his heart on his sleeve through this album.
While the death of XXX was unexpected and left many fans “SAD!”, this album is the best posthumous album for XXX. Even though the album is rather short, these new styles leave no room for regrets from XXX. XXX has fans grooving to the slower songs and rocking to the rock songs, also allowing us to contemplate and relate to topics addressed in SKINS. These various styles encourage fans to celebrate XXX’s legacy rather than dwell over his unexpected passing. All in all, the raw and unfinished feel to the songs add more meaning to the album.
Ultimately, SKINS should not be looked over, and we should be grateful for a last chance to appreciate this legend and thank him for changing the music world forever.