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Arts & Culture

"He's Going Down As An Icon": Fans Mourn Rapper XXXTentacion Amid Controversy

Thousands of fans gathered at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Wednesday to mourn the loss of Broward-native rapper Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, known as XXXTentacion. 

The rapper, 20, was gunned down in Deerfield Beach on June 18  in an apparent robbery outside of a high-end motorsports dealership. Police arrested Dedrick Williams, 22, for the crime and are still actively looking for more suspects.

Since his death, Onfroy’s music has topped the music charts. His song "Sad!" soared from No.52 to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. No artist has posthumously achieved the same lead since The Notorious B.I.G., with “Mo Money Mo Problems,” in 1997.

XXXTentacion fan Austin Trosclair drove 12 hours from New Orleans and joined a line with thousands of others.They crossed arms in a signature ‘X,’ sang his lyrics and waited without shade or water to pay respects.

“The one song that really stood out to me was 'Depression and Obsession,' because I go through my own depression and it really helps and kind of numbs the pain,” he said. “It’s amazing what he’s able to do, just in the short amount of time in his songs. He’s really going to go down as an icon.”

Trosclair wanted to thank XXXTentacion’s mother, known as Miss Cleo, for the open-casket funeral.

“It means a lot to his fans, she didn’t have to do that, but out of the kindness of her heart, she did,” he said. “Long live X.”

Other fans teared-up as they talked about heartbreak and depression that was briefly numbed with XXXTentacion’s music.

The outpouring of emotion highlighted the complicated way fans justify loving his music while still being mindful of his violent past.

Rapper Pedro Segura, known as ‘Pikin’ from Houston, FL, said ‘X’ will live on forever - he always looked up to his versatility and evolving musical style.

“Besides that, I like how he always trying to stand up for the people that don’t stand up for themselves, the misfits,” Segura said. “I know I’m calm now, but I know as soon as I get in there, I’m gonna break down.”

Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN
Rapper Pedro Segura said 'X' will live on forever during the XXXTentacion fan memorial.

Jessina Grote drove from Tampa to see her idol one last time. As far as his controversial past, she said, everybody makes mistakes.

“People can make up from that,” Grote said. “He was on his way to recovery, and for him to pass away now, whenever he was ready to prove his point, it was heartbreaking. He was better than the things he did in the past.”

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