The South Florida rapper XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was shot near a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, Fla., this afternoon and later was pronounced dead after being transported to an area hospital, the Broward Sheriff's Office has confirmed. According to a statement provided to NPR by the Broward Sheriff's Office, at 3:57 p.m. ET police responded to reports of an adult male being shot near RIVA Motorsports in the city, which lies about 45 minutes north of Miami. Onfroy was 20 years old.
In a subsequent post requesting anyone with information on the situation to come forward anonymously, the Broward Sheriff's Office says Onfroy was "approached by two armed suspects," with at least one firing a gun at Onfroy during a possible robbery. Police dispatch audio obtained by TMZ mentions "several gunshots" and a "possible drive-by."
Onfroy was currently awaiting trial on charges brought by a former girlfriend, Geneva Ayala, who alleged that he was physically and mentally abusive to her — charges he has denied.
In December, Onfroy was put on house arrest after additional charges of witness tampering were brought against him over allegedly coercing his former girlfriend to decline testifying against him, but a judge granted Onfroy's release in March so that he could tour.
The rapper first gained attention in late 2016 with his SoundCloud single "Look At Me," which then went viral in early 2017. His debut album, 17, followed, with his sophomore project, ?, released in March of this year under the rapper's own Bad Vibes Forever label. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Following the success of "Look At Me" Onfroy became, arguably, the most prominent artist working in a genre known as "SoundCloud rap," defined by both the narcotized lo-fi textures of its beats and the breadth of its influences, atypical for rap, which included the guitar-rooted forms of grunge, nü-metal and emo. In addition to its sound, SoundCloud rappers' lyrics often reflected internal struggles that often included self-medicating drug use, as well as expressions of generalized anger, acts of self-harm and thoughts of violence. On "Revenge," XXXTentacion rapped: "If I could act on my revenge, then, oh, would I?"
In a recent profile of Onfroy by the Miami New-Times -- the first he had granted in 2018 — he was asked about his pending charges and his house arrest by the journalist Tarpley Hitt, to which he responded: "Would I change anything about my journey? F***, no." In that profile, Ayala claimed she had been harassed by fans of Onfroy, telling Hitt: "I can't even go to the mall or Walmart without being noticed and eyed down."
Last month, Onfroy was one of a handful of artists affected by a "hateful conduct" policy that Spotify announced, and which was intended to result in artists not receiving editorial promotion from the company. Spotify later backpedaled after it received criticism from the recording industry over the policy.
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