Shortly before his passing, XXXTentacion – real name Jahseh Onfroy – had signed a major record deal. For his third album, the late rapper would’ve received $10 million. That’s according to a report from the New York Times.
Speaking with the newspaper, Empire Records founder Ghazi Shami discussed the intimate conversations he had with the rapper. He revealed that several weeks before the West Palm Beach shooting that led to his death, XXXTentacion had finished “a significant amount of material” for his upcoming album.
He still didn’t have a release date, however. Due to a clause from the rapper’s previous contract with Universal Music Group, the album would have likely dropped after October.
Shami also revealed Spotify’s ill-fated ‘Hate Content and Hateful Conduct’ policy had unnerved Onfroy.
He had lost a major source of income when the platform – along with Apple Music and Pandora in a domino effect – pulled his music from multiple playlists. When discussing a potential deal with Shami, XXXTentacion asked,
“Are you sure you want to sign me, even when my streams are down?”
Shami doesn’t place too much emphasis on playlist placements or total stream counts. Expressing his confidence in Onfroy’s artistic ability, he said,
“I said, ‘I believe in you; I don’t believe in playlists. Playlists are nice. You are a musical phenomenon.’”
The New York Times report also reveals that the rapper likely has “a deep archive of unreleased material.” His estate may license XXXTentacion’s post-humous material “for years to come.”
Speaking about the rapper’s negative “public perception” – namely abusing his former girlfriend and run-ins with the law – Shami said that it really didn’t matter to him. He only wanted to work with the rapper.
“I know the person. My job was to nurture him and let him be the best version of himself that he could be, not to villainize him.”