XXXTentacion Skins: Album Review

"..the first part of the album represents darkness, then the second part of completing that transformation into the third part — the light.”

On Friday December 7th, XXXTentacion's Posthumous album 'Skins' was delivered to the world amid The Recording Academy's 2018 Grammy nomination announcements. Though no Grammy nominations for the album were awarded, the 20 minute long album is expected to do some really big numbers.

Despite (or partly because of) XXXTentacion's divisive veneer, Ghazi Shami, founder and CEO of EMPIRE, which is distributing “Skins”, is expecting the album to reach no-less than platinum-plus numbers. “I don’t see this album doing any less than that, and ‘17’ was just certified for over a million units back in August” says Shami. According to Variety, X's “?” album (which was released in March 2018 via Caroline, a distribution company within Capitol Music Group) tallied 3.1 million in global adjusted album equivalents (1.6 million in the U.S.) and more than 5 billion streams, according to CMG.

EMPIRE is currently caught in an interesting place with a lot at stake, to say the least. Before X's death, the artist inked a $10 million dollar deal with EMPIRE amid ongoing legal hearings rooted in allegations of physical abuse, and kidnapping. Simultaneously, X's fan base was flourishing and seemed to have started viewing him almost akin to a Kurt Cobain-ish persona.

'Skins' runs at 10 tracks in length and clocks in at just under 20 minutes. Though the album isn't necessarily garnering stellar reviews from various publications, fans of the late artist will nonetheless greet the album with admiration. The lone feature on the record is by Kanye West via a track called "One Minute" which consists of a mix of heavy rock and rap (nu-metal?). Kanye acknowledges the sentiment of fans who feel that the ongoing conversation around X's legal trouble troubles linked to violent behavior is equivalent to spitting on his grave: “Now your name is tainted by the claims they paintin’ / The defendant is guilty, no one blames the plaintiff” raps Kanye. Nonethelss, 'Skins' on a whole alternates between being both fascinating and fragmented. Intensely creative at times and uneventful at others - in other words, the album is as dichotomous as the image of XXXTentacion himself. Regardless of where you stand, X fans will find that the album continues the legacy of the controversial artist.

Ghazi Shami notes, “We all make mistakes and we all have our troubles, obstacles and hurdles, but at the end of the day, it’s [about] what do we take from those experiences? Do we actually become better people? Do we evolve? Many of those experiences happened when he was 16 and 17-years-old. At 20, he was a very different person. In one year, I saw a maturation process that was pretty profound. He had the ability to bring great change to the narrative of the youth. Unfortunately, it got cut short.”

Listen to X's new album 'Skins' below and revisit SAD!, released in March of 2018 which went 4x Platinum in Septmber:

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