I’m not sure why rappers keep comparing their peers to Malcolm X. Joyner Lucas equated Chis Brown to the civil rights great earlier this year, and now, on his new album Dyin’ To Live, Kodak Black does the same for his fallen friend XXXTentacion on a song titled, fittingly, “Malcolm X.X.X.”
On the song, Kodak Black samples a bit of a Malcolm X interview with Herman Blake to set the mood, then launches into a heartfelt reminisce of fellow Floridian up-and-comer XXXTentacion. On the song’s second verse, he directly references his contemporaries death, drawing an eerie parallel to the well-known activist and minister in how both were gunned down unexpectedly: “X was tryna buy a bike and he got gunned down / X was tryna change his life, but he got burned down / X wasn’t ridin’ with no pipe so he got gunned down.”
All the comparisons, while seeming a little wacky on the surface, make sense once you do a little digging. Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little in Detroit, MI, lived a troubled, gangster life much like many of today’s more controversial rappers before finding the Nation Of Islam and reforming into the respectable, but still a little dangerous leader we see on posters, hats, T-shirts, and in films. However, it’s important to remember that Malcolm Little actually reformed, showing true remorse for his actions — and most importantly, changing them. XXXTentacion — and Kodak Black — had much more serious charges against him than just armed robbery
While XXXTentacion made a show of trying to prove his reformation (as did Chris Brown before him), the fact remains he never really owned up to any of his actions before he passed. Maybe he would have, in time. The sad part is that we’ll never know. But for now, maybe rappers could use a less hyperbolic point of comparison, because their friends aren’t really measuring up.
Dyin’ To Live is out today via Atlantic Records.
Kodak Black is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.