Album Review: XXXTentacion – Revenge

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Revenge is the mixtape that “controversial” rapper XXXTentacion released earlier this month that contains songs that were already released on Soundcloud as individual tracks. I planned on reviewing it when it first came out and now two weeks have passed. I have been putting off this review because everytime I give this mixtape another listen I enjoy it even more than I did the last time, and I start to really believe that X is going places no questions asked. There is not a single song on this mixtape I hated, I think every song is completely unique and brilliantly composed. In the 18 minutes that this mixtape runs he manages to span over hip hop, trap, electronica, soul, R&B, and rock. It features an acoustic guitar, a drum machine, an acoustic drum set, and even a grand piano. This album art is a perfect example of his flexible abilities, it looks like the album art for an Indie Black Metal Band, which is pretty awesome. I think XXXTentacion is the kind of artist that offers such a variety of styles that literally anyone can find at least one song they can get down to. If you can not find a song you like, then just wait for this man to drop more music in the future, I am sure he will find a way to please you.

The first song on this mixtape, “Look At Me!”, is X’s most popular song and it does not take a high IQ to figure out why this song is so successful. The song is brutal, narcissistic, remorseless, and violent. Throughout the song X seems pleased and joyful despite the aggressive, antagonistic, and insanely sexual themes in the lyrics. This track’s instrumental is brilliant as well. It has a booming synth that provides a sound structural support for X’s verses, as well as this eastern sound synth line that remains calm and constant throughout the song while X shouts at various speeds and levels of anger.

The follow up track, “I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore”, is a nice recovery track following the explosive “Look At Me!”. It’s catchy, minimal, soulful, melancholy, and sleazy. This song seems tinged with regret and hopes that things could be better for himself in the future. The next song, “Looking for a Star” is more electronic than it’s predecessors and was produced by EDM artist Diplo, which explains the dance beat as well. I love the sound effects and autotune on X’s vocals in this song, and the lyrics are very enjoyable. I love the instrumental breaks that occur about 3/4ths of the way into the song where it gets all glitchy and trippy before reverting back to it’s original state. I don’t really understand how anyone could hate this track, or how it is not a top 40 song already.

“Valentine” is such a surreal track. I like how minimal and detached it is. It sounds like the auditory representation of a dissociation episode, and it is difficult to make out anything that X drones on about in this song, but oh man do I love it. It’s just so out there and introverted in contrast to his more aggressive songs. “King” is a great follow up to “Valentine” as it expands upon the vocals of that track, sounding like they were recorded by an eavesdropper in the room next door, while X plucks away lightly at the strings of an acoustic guitar. You would think that much like “Valentine” that this song would remain calm throughout, then it makes an unexpected turn and explodes into thrashing drums, cymbals crashes, and angry, viscious “Ah!”s and “Yuh!”s, then it quiets back down, making the song feel like a violent melancholic mood swing.

“Slipknot” borders sounding like the best of the underground and too good and experimental for radio play. It’s very rhythm and blues, and is very piano and hook driven. He gives out this line that goes, “I will kill myself if it benefit all of my fucking friends”, which is derived from a dark and familiar place and showcases the more depressive side of XXXTentacion. Then the song features a verse from Kin$oul which is so great. It seemlessly fades out to an outro sung by Killstation as well, making for a unique song.

The next song, “YuNg BrAtZ”, is a song that explodes into a verse of angry chants following a bunch of ramblings and vocal noises. The outbursts of bass in this track are notable as being pretty enjoyable. This song is cocky, arrogant, and youthful. The final few seconds of this song feature a sad keyboard progression which was also noteworthy in a song of this seemingly fun and angry tone. The final track, “RIP Roach”, is a track that features fellow rapper and a close friend of XXXTentacion, $ki Mask The Slump God. The song is a tribute to a deceased friend of X. What makes this song interesting is it’s sampling of a female moaning at the beginning of the song and in between the verses. This song is yet another example of X’s more explosive and reckless side style wise. $ki Mask’s verse in this song is what really makes it though, I enjoyed the collaboration, the song would not have been as good without him in it.

I really enjoyed this mixtape overall. There were not any songs where I just felt like deleting from the tracklisting or skipping either. While this mixtape is just a bunch of songs that XXXTentacion previously released on his Soundcloud account, they all fit together very well, despite all of the stylistic changes throughout the mixtape that some may criticize. No song here overstays it’s welcome, they are all short tracks that hit the sweet spot of wanting more music, which means they will listen to the music they have more times in anticipation for X’s next work. I would be interested in hearing an XXXTentacion song that takes a jazzy route, or maybe even a tropical reggae route. I have heard rumors of him releasing a lot of music during the rest of 2017, so I am going to have my hopes up for some more great music.

UPDATE 6/26/17: Found a song where X takes a jazzy route, it’s called “Netherrack”!

Release Date: 16 May 17

Genres: Hip Hop, Experimental Hip Hop, R&B, Punk Rap.

Track Highlights: Look At Me!, Looking for a Star, King, Slipknot, RIP Roach.

Tracklist: 

  1. Look At Me!
  2. I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore
  3. Looking for a Star
  4. Valentine
  5. King
  6. Slipknot
  7. YuNg BrAtZ
  8. RIP Roach

i. e. 9.6/10

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