Before his death (and after), XXXTentacion was a polarizing figure in hip-hop. He had his fans who appreciated his music, as well as his detractors due to his history of domestic violence. Billie Eilish is in the former camp, as she has gone on record on multiple occasions with her support of the controversial rapper. In a new interview with XXL, she again spoke about XXXTentacion, calling him a “complete tortured genius.”
Eliish talked about XXXTentacion’s posthumous popularity and how she came to admire his music without knowing much about him as a person, saying:
“I think it’s kind of unfair when something gets more popular after someone passes. I remember in the midst of it, at the beginning, when I found him on SoundCloud. I had no idea who he was or anything about his backstory at all. I barely knew what he looked like. I just messed with what he was creating because it wasn’t something I had heard before. It was a mix between, you know, all types of sh*t. And that was without me having any knowledge of anything in his life: who he was, who he knew, anything at all.
I think that’s when you know that [the music is] real to you because you don’t know anything about [the artist]. I think that’s the same with people. You know, if you just vibe with a person without seeing their Instagram or knowing who they are or whatever, that’s like the most raw I think you can get. I don’t know, I think it’s still popular because he was a complete tortured genius.”
Eilish previously received criticism after performing a new song dedicated to XXXTentacion following his death, to which she responded by saying, “I want to be able to mourn, I don’t want to be shamed for it. I don’t think I deserve getting hate for loving someone that passed.”
Find more excerpts from the interview here.