XXXTentacion: An Annotated Timeline of New Times Coverage

A portrait left at a makeshift memorial outside the XXXTentacion Funeral & Fan Memorial at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on June 27, 2018
A portrait left at a makeshift memorial outside the XXXTentacion Funeral & Fan Memorial at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on June 27, 2018 Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images
Editor's note November 1, 2022: Published on June 5, 2018, New Times news intern Tarpley Hitt's profile of Miami hip-hop star XXXTentacion (real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy) was a journalistic coup.

A scant thirteen days after New Times published the profile, Onfroy was shot to death in broad daylight at a Broward County motorcycle dealership in an apparent robbery gone wrong.

As it turned out, Hitt's story contained XXXTentacion's last public comments about the domestic abuse charges pending against him, as well as candid insights into the 20-year-old rapper's problematic youth and subsequent rise to fame and notoriety.

Hitt's profile, however, is only one of many stories that comprise Miami New Times' contemporaneous coverage of XXXTentacion's music career and the violence and controversy that surrounded it. Below is a timeline of New Times XXXTentacion coverage.

Annotated Timeline of New Times Coverage of XXXTentacion (Jahseh Onfroy)

May 7, 2017: Rolling Loud 2017: A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, and Others Ruled the Stage
"It was the moment young hip-hop fans had been waiting for all weekend. Not long after being released from jail, XXXTentacion finally got his chance to perform live in front of the entire nation, and the crowd couldn’t get enough," begins New Times music contributor Tony Centeno's encapsulation of XXXTentacion's performance at the 2017 edition of Miami's Rolling Loud hip-hop festival. (XXXTentacion had been jailed the year prior for allegedly stabbing his manager, whom he believed was stealing from him. But these charges were in connection with his alleged assaults on Geneva Ayala.)

June 14, 2017: Broward Rapper XXXTentacion Makes the XXL Freshman List
Jahseh Onfroy, AKA XXXTentacion, "is just as dogged by violence and criticism as he is successful," Douglas Markowitz writes of the rapper's inclusion on XXL magazine's vaunted list. "He has an extensive criminal record: The most recent charge stems from an assault on a pregnant girlfriend [Geneva Ayala]. He was still in jail when 'Look at Me!' began to garner attention. Most people first see him in his mug shot: pale skin, piercing eyes, the right half of his midlength dreadlocks dyed blond. This history of violence is reflected in his music — blown-out bass, metal samples, and obscene lyrics about blowjobs in Starbucks bathrooms — and his shows, where fans have rioted and assaulted performers. His nickname for himself is 'Young Dagger Dick.'"

July 3, 2017: Inside the Dark Carnival of XXXTentacion's Broward Show
Douglas Markowitz reviews XXXTentacion's show at Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, comparing and contrasting it with other performances on the rapper's nationwide Revenge Tour, which was marked by wild antics and violence. "But nothing so extreme happened at Club Cinema," Markowitz writes. "There was only the usual insanity: chicken fights, crowd surfing, and mosh pits, all of which Onfroy gladly participated in, even coordinated." The review was paired with a slideshow by photographer Amadeus McCaskill.

November 14, 2017: Lauderhill's XXXTentacion Allegedly Jumped by Migos
Writes Markowitz: "The decline and fall of South Florida's once-rising, now-sinking rap star XXXTentacion continues...." XXXTentacion, who'd already deleted a series of Instagram posts accusing Atlanta rappers Migos of jumping him in Los Angeles, backed off the allegation and apologized.

November 28, 2017: XXXTentacion, Accused Abuser of Women, to Hold "Anti-Rape" Event During Art Basel
"This is, notably, the first time X has directly attempted to engage with the kind of crimes he's committed, outside of denying them," Markowitz points out. (As Hitt notes in her 2018 feature, "The anti-rape event was canceled after one of [XXXTentacion's] fans vandalized the venue.")

December 15, 2017: XXXTentacion Receives Seven New Charges, Will Await Trial in Jail
Miami-Dade County prosecutors had already alleged witness tampering on Jahseh Onfroy's part. The seven new charges, which would quickly more than double to 15, were based on additional evidence of the same crime, as well as harassment. (Spoiler alert: XXXTentacion did not await trial in jail.)

April 12, 2018: XXXTentacion Sues Woman He Hit in Video
A video surfaced that appeared to show XXXTentacion slapping a woman, hard, in the face. An Instagram user came forward saying she was the woman in the clip. Jahseh Onfroy and his legal team sued her for fraud and defamation.

May 8, 2018: XXXTentacion's Witness-Tampering Tapes Sealed by Miami Judge
In an opinion column, New Times editor-in-chief Chuck Strouse took issue with Circuit Court Judge Richard Hersch's ruling denying the paper's public-records request for copies of taped phone calls Onfroy made from jail. "Justice should not be administered in private," Strouse writes. "Judges should follow state laws. And the Legislature should stop trimming the Florida Sunshine Law, which is among the best in the nation. The public has a right to know."

May 11, 2018: XXXTentacion's Music Removed From Spotify Playlists, Declared "Hate Content"
On May 10, 2018, the streaming service Spotify implemented its so-called Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy, under which it nixed from its platform-created playlists music by artists who have been deemed undesirable. "We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values," Spotify said in a statement. The first artist to be removed from playlists was R. Kelly. The second was XXXTentacion.

June 5, 2018:
The Real Story of South Florida Rapper XXXTentacion
Tarpley Hitt's seminal 2018 New Times profile of XXXTentacion.

June 5, 2018: XXXTentacion Back on Spotify Playlists as Streaming Service Reverses Content Policy
As Tarpley Hitt's XXXTentacion feature went to press, Spotify reversed its Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy. "While we believe our intentions were good," Spotify said in a statement, "the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn't spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines."

June 6, 2018: XXXTentacion's Alleged Victim Raised $12,000 on GoFundMe in One Day
Tarpley Hitt's story noted that Geneva Ayala had initiated an online fundraising campaign to raise money to cover the medical bills she incurred as a result of the alleged abuse at the hands of Onfroy. In less than 24 hours after the story went live on the New Times website, the fundraising effort raised more than $12,000. In all, the campaign would amass $36,350 before Ayala shut it down four days after Onfroy was murdered. "i greatly appreciate every single donation made," she wrote in the campaign's sole update. "this was an unbelievable journey and i'm still in shock. i put an end to the campaign because i've received more than enough and i'm thankful. r.i.p. jahseh onfroy, no matter what happened/happens my love for him will never cease...."

June 11, 2018: A Timeline of Rapper XXXTentacion's Abuse Allegations
With a trial still a distant prospect, New Times news writer Jerry Iannelli recapped the yearlong timeline of abuse allegations against Jahseh Onfroy.

June 18, 2018: Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Broward County
Jahseh Onfroy's life was filled with bursts of violence, much of it in the public eye. He died at age 20 in the same way: shot to death in his car in broad daylight at a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach. His notoriety followed him all the way to the end, as witnesses shared video clips of his inert body slumped in the driver's seat of his BMW.

June 19, 2018: Police, Friends Say Rapper XXXTentacion's Murder Was Likely Robbery Gone Wrong
A day after the slaying, this much was clear, Tarpley Hitt reported: "Around 4 p.m. yesterday, the rapper was leaving Riva Motorsports when he was approached by two armed suspects. At least one of the suspects fired into the car, hitting Onfroy. The pair then fled the dealership in a black SUV, identified in a dispatch call obtained by TMZ as a Dodge Journey. In the call, the suspects are also identified as wearing hoodies and a red mask."

June 20, 2018: Hundreds Mourn XXXTentacion at Candlelight Vigil
"'Please I would love for everyone to attend and share your memories that you had with him,' one friend, who uses the handle @jordans_n_diamonds, wrote on Instagram. 'Please let’s keep in mind #bread over beef, and let's make his last words come true,' referring to the rapper's final Instagram story, in which he announced a charity event in Florida." Tarpley Hitt covered the vigil, held near the motorcycle dealership where Onfroy was killed. The story was accompanied by a slideshow of photos by Ian Witlen.

June 21, 2018: XXXTentacion Murder: Police Arrest 22-Year-Old in Killing
Three days after Onfroy was gunned down, Broward sheriff's deputies arrested 22-year-old Dedrick D. Williams in connection with the rapper's death, charging him with first-degree murder and grand theft.

June 22, 2018: Tarpley Hitt Interviewed on New York Times Popcast
On episode 183 of the New York Times' Popcast podcast, "XXXTentacion, Mourning and Morality," host and Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica spoke with Tarpley Hitt. Jump to the 40:30 mark in the link above to hear Hitt describe how she was able to interview both Jahseh Onfroy and his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala, and share some of her insights into the rapper's short, violent life.

June 25, 2018: XXXTentacion Memorial to Be Held at BB&T Center
Jahseh Onfroy's lawyer announced that a public memorial had been scheduled for Wednesday, June 27, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Attorney J. David Bogenschutz said the memorial would include an open-casket viewing.

June 26, 2018: XXXTentacion's "Sad!" Tops the Billboard Hot 100
The day after rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, his song "Sad!" broke the Spotify record for most single-day global streams, a mark previously held by Taylor Swift. Eight days later, the song reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100, jumping from number 52 to number 1.

June 27, 2018: At XXXTentacion's Memorial, Fans Gather to Pay Respects to the Rapper
"The event took the form of an open-casket viewing, albeit an unconventional one in the middle of a huge sports arena," Douglas Markowitz writes. "A video montage of X's career — from interview clips and concert footage to a news report of a riot that broke out in Los Angeles after his death — flashed on the Jumbotron. His music played on the loudspeakers, and the somber nature of songs such as 'Sad!' and 'Revenge' were oddly fitting for the occasion."

June 28, 2018: BSO Hunting for Second Person of Interest in XXXTentacion Murder
The Broward Sheriff's Office announced it was looking for Robert Allen, 22, in connection with Jaseh Onfroy's killing. Allen was seen in security-camera footage at Riva Motorsports. Police said an SUV with three men inside blocked Onfroy's car outside the motorcycle dealership and robbed him before speeding away. (Earlier reports had referred to only two assailants.)

June 29, 2018: XXXTentacion's Last Will Names Mom and Brothers as Beneficiaries of His Estate
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Jahseh Onfroy's mother, Cleopatra Bernard, filed the rapper's will days earlier. Completed on November 7, 2017, the document designated Bernard as Onfroy's personal representative. She, along with Onfroy's two brothers, Aiden Kerr and Corey Pack, were named as the beneficiaries.

July 11, 2018: Alleged Gunman in XXXTentacion Murder Arrested
The Broward Sheriff's Office announced that a second suspect, 22-year-old Broward resident Michael Boatwright, had been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Jahseh Onfroy. Police believed Boatwright, who they already had in custody on a marijuana charge, was one of two gunmen involved in the rapper's murder. A search for 22-year-old Robert Allen and a second, unnamed alleged gunman later identified as 20-year-old Trayvon Newsome, was ongoing.

July 26, 2018: XXXTentacion Murder Suspect Robert Allen Arrested in Rural Georgia
U.S. Marshals in Georgia tracked Robert Allen to a house in the small town of Eastman in rural Dodge County, southeast of Macon. Marshals surveilled the house and peacefully took Allen into custody after determining he was inside. A week earlier, authorities in Florida had indicted Allen for the murder of Jahseh Onfroy, better known to rap fans as XXXTentacion. The fourth suspect in the murder, Trayvon Newsome, also under indictment, surrendered in Fort Lauderdale two weeks later.
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