XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was a popular American rapper, singer, and songwriter known for his raw and emotive music. His lyrics often deal with themes of mental health, personal struggles, and existential questions. If you’re exploring his music, you might find his lyrics complex and loaded with emotion. This guide aims to help you interpret and understand the layered meanings in XXXTentacion’s songs.
Step 1: Listen to the Song Multiple Times
To truly understand XXXTentacion‘s lyrics, it is crucial to listen to the track more than once. Firstly, listen to get a general feel of the song—its mood, tempo, and energy. On subsequent listens, try to focus on the lyrics more closely.
Example: Play a single track several times, focusing on different elements each time—first the overall sound, then the lyrics, then how both interact.
Step 2: Read the Lyrics While Listening
Having the lyrics in front of you can significantly enhance your understanding. Many music platforms offer lyrics, or you can find them on dedicated lyric websites. As you read along, observe how the words pair with the music, his voice inflections, and pacing.
Example: Use a site like Genius.com to find the lyrics to “Jocelyn Flores” or other songs, and follow along as you listen.
Step 3: Consider XXXTentacion’s Personal History
XXXTentacion’s history had a profound influence on his music. Knowing about his struggles with depression, legal issues, and experiences of violence can provide context to his lyrics. A quick search online for interviews, articles, or his social media posts could give you insights into his life.
Example: Research XXXTentacion’s biography and personal struggles which might’ve influenced tracks like “SAD!” or “Everybody Dies in Their Nightmares.”
Step 4: Identify Recurring Themes and Symbols
XXXTentacion often used recurring motifs and symbols in his lyrics, such as references to specific people in his life, ideas of mortality, or feeling trapped in one’s mind. Keep a lookout for these recurring themes when you break down the lyrics.
Example: In the song “Moonlight,” notice how he uses “Moonlight” as a symbol to discuss the theme of isolation.
Step 5: Analyze the Lyrics
Take some time to analyze the lyrics more deeply:
- Identify Metaphors and Similes: Figure out what specific lines might represent in the bigger picture of the song’s story or message.
Example: “Ice on my neck” can be a metaphor for wealth and success but also the coldness or loneliness it brings.
- Explore Wordplay and Language: XXXTentacion often used innovative language, including slang, abbreviations, and creative wordplays that might have double meanings or deeper connotations.
Example: Pay attention to instances of wordplay in “Look At Me!” where aggressive language meets a commentary on society.
Step 6: Examine Song Structure
XXXTentacion’s songs sometimes stray from typical verse-chorus structures. Identifying the structure can help you piece together the narrative or thematic progression of the lyrics.
Example: “changes” largely bypasses traditional structure in favor of a repetitive, melodic line that underscores the themes of instability and transformation.
Step 7: Reflect on Your Own Interpretation
After dissecting the lyrics and considering XXXTentacion’s perspective, take some time to reflect on what the song means to you personally. His music often invites listeners to project their own emotions and experiences onto his lyrics.
Example: You may find that “Hope” both acknowledges grief and offers solace, depending on your connection to its lyrics.
Remember, the interpretation of music, especially the work of artists like XXXTentacion, is highly subjective. There may not always be a single way to understand a song, and the layers in his lyrics could go on to mean different things to different listeners. Use this guide as a starting point to dive deep into the works of XXXTentacion and appreciate the raw emotion and honesty he brought to his music. So, continue to listen, read, and reflect on the lyrics to fully understand and appreciate his artistry. And most importantly, never be afraid to create your own interpretation of his music. As XXXTentacion once said, “Create your own universe.”
Example: Analyze how “changes” might speak differently to a listener based on their age or life experiences, and consider how it reflects the universal nature of change. Ultimately, engage with XXXTentacion’s music in a way that is meaningful to you while also respecting the artist’s intentions. By doing so, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for his artistry and legacy. So, keep exploring and creating your own interpretations of his powerful lyrics.