XXXTentacion, the burgeoning SoundCloud rapper whose criminal history is closely intertwined with his musical legacy, was catapulted into the public stratosphere nearly two years after his “Look at Me!” track was released online. The two-minute-thirty-second clip went live December 31, 2015. By April 22, 2017, it had peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But the rapper, born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, has prompted fans to “stop believing the rumors” of the heinous abuse charges filed against him by his ex-girlfriend. In an interview with the Miami New Times published Tuesday (June 5), Onfroy speaks to his tenuous yet tight-knit relationship with his mother, being against feminism but all here for astral projection, and other factors from his earlier life that have shaped who he is today.
“Women may see or feel that they’re belittled, but you’re only belittled if you want to be belittled,” he argues about feminism. But the #MeToo movement has climactically revolutionized how much power women are allotted once they publicize allegations, according to the rapper. Geneva Ayala, Onfroy’s ex, whom he titled the outro from his No. 2 debut album 17 after, is one of those women he talks about with the New Times. Ayala, who was also interviewed for the piece, filed numerous charges against him, on accounts of domestic battery by strangulation, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, armed home invasion and robbery — not to mention false imprisonment and witness tampering — but that “almost more powerful than men” chip Onfroy has on his shoulder kicked in when his family and friends called her to drop the charges.
The upward of 15 charges against Onfroy — who’s been on “modified house arrest” since last December in his $1.4 million Tuscan-style mansion — haven’t slowed down his sales: His latest studio album, ?, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March.
He doesn’t have any regrets (“Would I change anything about my journey? Fuck no.”), saying he was trained as a middle schooler by his mother on how to handle a fight when a girl who had a crush on Onfroy made a move by hitting him. When he asked if he could hit her back, his mother, Cleopatra Bernard — whose name is emblazoned on his chest as part of his tattoo stockpile — instructed him to give her three warnings before needing “to handle it.”
Onfroy also said he picked fights with classmates to get his mother’s attention. “I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me.” In the battle of vying for her attention, XXX was sent to Sheridan House Family Ministries, a residential program for troubled youth. He graduated to juvenile hall after racking up charges of armed robbery, burglary, possession of a firearm, resisting arrest and possession of oxycodone as a sophomore at Piper High School in Sunrise, Florida.
The rapper nearly beat his gay cellmate to death after warning a guard, “If he does anything I disapprove of, I’m gonna kill him.” He does what he says, as South Florida videographer Daniel Calle recalls of their 2014 encounter from a local show in Hollywood, Florida. Onfroy wanted to be booked on the lineup, but Calle informed the young artist he couldn’t get in. “Couldn’t” simply doesn’t show up in his vocabulary, as the South Florida rapper showed up and performed regardless of the lack of approval.
One thing he surprisingly endorsed with a $5,000 deposit was a donation to Ayala’s GoFundMe campaign when she needed surgery after Onfroy’s repeated beatings caused nerve damage and a fracture in her eye. The goal was $20,000. Onfroy put his name down for a quarter of it before the money crowdsourcing website deleted the campaign page after several of his fans claimed she was misrepresenting her injuries.
The New Times reached out to GoFundMe, and a spokesperson wrote back saying the team looked into the reports sent about the campaign and proceeded to request “sufficient information regarding the use of funds.” Ayala gave GoFundMe what they were looking for, and they reactivated her campaign.
Read the full story over at Miami New Times.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.