December 14, 2018

As XXXTentacion’s Posthumous Album Arrives, a Battle Over His Legacy Rages On

Some in the music business have, at least tepidly, pushed back. In May, Spotify unveiled a “hate content and hateful content” policy, abruptly pulling his music, along with that of Kelly, from its curated playlists. Record executives, including Anthony Tiffith, the chief executive of the rapper Kendrick Lamar’s label, said it wasn’t appropriate to police the behavior of certain artists, and Spotify backed off the policy weeks later.

Both Spotify and Apple Music declined to comment on plans for “Skins,” but “Bad!” appears on Spotify’s influential RapCaviar playlist and on Apple Music’s rap spotlight, The A-List playlist.

The Grammy Awards, still reeling after criticism about the show’s lack of gender and racial diversity, have potentially sidestepped an XXXTentacion firestorm. He will not qualify for the best new artist award for technical reasons — he released too many singles and albums to qualify under academy rules. But “?,” released in March, will be eligible for nominations in other categories. Representatives for the Recording Academy declined to comment.

A record executive who spoke anonymously because his major label did not authorize him to do so said XXXTentacion’s personal behavior may have been “controversial and toxic enough” to dissuade the world’s biggest record companies from distributing “Skins.”

Still, the domestic-abuse allegations were widely known when Universal helped put out “?” during his life — it hit No. 1 on the charts and, according to Nielsen Music, its songs have streamed more than three billion times. Universal’s merchandise division, Bravado, also partnered on the clothing line that XXXTentacion designed; Warner released “Arms Around You,” the posthumous single with Lil Pump, Maluma and Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee; and Columbia Records put out “Falling Down,” another posthumous single, with Lil Peep, in September.

Representatives for each of those companies declined to comment.

“I don’t see a lot of people in the industry willing to speak out about these things,” Rosen said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/arts/music/xxxtentacion-skins.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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