Hip-hop’s sordid past with sexual assault

XXXTentacion is one of the most talked about rappers of this year. He scored the tenth spot in XXL Magazine’s coveted Freshman Class. The XXL freshman issue has included everyone from Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$ to Anderson Paak and Chance the Rapper.

Needless to say, it’s a very big deal, one that comes with promotional videos, photoshoots, and of course, being on the cover of XXL Magazine.

X (as most people refer to him) is seen as the figurehead of the “Soundcloud rap” movement, and his spot in XXL has further legitimized his art.

Darker element to the success of X

There is a dark side to X – his alleged history of sexual assault.

With few exceptions, major publications like XXL and fans within the community have held their tongues, and continued to support X and other artist accused of abuse toward women.

X’s history of abuse has been a major controversy in his rise to fame, and it has been well documented by music publications and fans alike.

As detailed in a recent piece by Pitchfork Magazine, X, whose birth name is Jahseh Onfroy, is set to stand trial next month for a plethora of abuses. He faces charges ranging from aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, false imprisonment and domestic battery by strangulation.

According to the recently released testimony from plaintiff’s side in the case against XXXTentacion, X’s past with this woman reads like a horror story.

The first incidents of domestic violence occurred two weeks after X and the alleged victim started seeing each other.

X reportedly slapped the woman and broke her iPhone after she complimented a male friend on his jewelry.

Later that day, he found two grilling implements, and made her decide which one he would perform a sexual act with.

In July of 2016, the couple moved to Orlando where the woman said X threatened to kill her “literally like every day.”

The most horrific incident occurred in October of that year, after the plaintiff had become pregnant with X’s child.

After calling a man who she had slept with while X was in prison, X threatened to “Kill you and this jit (unborn child)” if she didn’t tell him the truth about her relationship with the other man.

He then beat her, strangled her and threatened to kill her in the bathtub, the victim said after this incident she couldn’t recognize her face in the mirror.

This shocking testimony, if proven to be true, means that X could face serious jail time. More importantly, it means that right now one of the biggest magazines in hip-hop has willingly thrown their support behind a violent sexual abuser.

X’s case is not the only sexual assault scandal

Last year, another XXL Freshman recipient Kodak Black, reportedly raped and assaulted a woman after a show in February. In a separate incident he “accidentally” filmed a woman’s sexual encounter with him and his friends.

Additionally, ASAP Mob affiliate and founder of the incredibly successful VLone fashion line, ASAP Bari, was seen on video forcibly trying to receive oral sex from a woman as she repeatedly told him to stop.

As troubling as these incidents are, what is just as troubling is the continued support of these artists despite their alleged abuses against women.

“Hip-Hop is nothing more than a soundtrack to a party,” said producer Martez Rozier. “It doesn’t matter what they may or may not have done, if it’s hot the world will listen.”

He’s not alone in this line of thinking either.

Kodak Black and XXXTentacion, continue to ride a wave of support from artists and fans alike, as the slogans “Free X” and “Free Kodak” are found all over the internet, and even on T-Shirts.

Technically, all three of these incidents are open cases. Still, the fact that major publications such as XXL magazine have not only supported these artists, but also made them the face of something as prestigious as the XXL Freshman cover is truly distressing.

Public outrage

Despite continued support from publications and fans alike, there has been plenty of outrage from those who find Kodak’s and X’s actions deplorable.

Eric Andre, know for his goofy, absurdist talk show on Adult Swim, took to twitter last month to echo this sentiment and voice his concerns about X’s popularity. Billboard magazine detailed the interaction between Andre and X, and a typically silly Andre found no humor in X’s alleged abuses.

Andre wrote, “why are we not okay with neo nazis but we listen to rappers who beat and rape women???”

This was just one tweet in a string of many condemning X, and Kodak Black for their alleged abuses, all of which can be seen on Billboard.com

X actually responded to Andre in a tweet that has since been deleted, saying, “not everything you hear on the internet is true, you should be adult enough to know that & support the youth before degrading them.”

X’s response proves to be even more chilling in light of the 142 page deposition from his alleged victim which I detailed earlier in the article.

Zoe Belasco, an avid hip-hop listener who’s been a fan of rap her whole life, said, “No amount of clout should allow you to abuse another person.”

Nike has since cut ties with ASAP Bari, While X and Kodak continue to rise within the hip-hop community.

Belasco went on to say that there is larger blame to be placed in the hands of publications like XXL Magazine for X’s and Kodak’s success

“Guilty or not, these outlets are still dying for an interview with X and Kodak for their next morning show.”

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