XXXTentacion would have turned 25 today, and to celebrate the late rap star‘s birthday, his estate released a touching, guitar-backed ballad featuring Lil Uzi Vert, titled “I’m Not Human.”
The opening verse starts with XXX referencing Slipknot’s “Snuff,” as he sings, “Bury all your secrets in my skin/Come away with innocence/And leave me with my sins/Air around me feels just like a cage.”
After the song’s chorus, Lil Uzi Vert joins for a second verse as they both repeat the refrain, “I’m not a human,” before a solo verse from Lil Uzi where the rapper reflects, “Tell you that life is not that deep/Paintin’ pictures that I’m a freak, but I’m not a human/I’m tired of losin’, inflicting my bruises, humans are users.”
Sharing the single’s cover art, XXXTentacion’s estate wrote on Instagram, “A gift from Jah…Thank you #liluzi.”
“Another year without you here physically. However, you will always live in our hearts and memories,” the estate added. “Your amazing fans have continued to support you and keep your legacy thriving. We are eternally grateful for them and the times we’ve shared. Here’s to continuing to have you touch millions of hearts around the world.”
Back in 2021, Lil Uzi Vert shared that he felt “really weird” about releasing a posthumous collaboration with XXXTentacion.
“Don’t get me wrong, it took me really long to do that with another artist. I’m really weird because I understand that they’re not here living and what if that’s not the vision they really want?” he said at the time, per NME. “Especially if they really fucked with me. What if that’s all wrong, I’d be pissed off if like they did it all wrong and I’m not here. But you know, if it works out, it works out.”
He also shared a tribute to XXX during her performance at Something in the Water last year.
“Rest in peace, XXX. Music was a little bit different around that time. And different in a good way. That was my only competition,” he said onstage before playing his songs. “Every time I dropped, he dropped. Or every time he dropped, I dropped. He would go No. 1 or I would.”
XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and killed in Florida in 2018 when he was 20 years old. He was leaving a motorcycle dealer when a gunman opened fire.
XXXTentacion’s rise began at the end of 2015 when the then-17-year-old rapper uploaded the track “Look At Me!” to SoundCloud. The song would become his calling card — at the time, it sounded like nothing else in hip-hop. XXXTentacion quickly became the face of SoundCloud Rap, a nascent, if ill-defined, genre of music that sprang out of South Florida via a loosely affiliated collection of young artists that prized raw emotionality and bluntly functional songwriting over anything else.
His career, however, was also marred by mental health struggles and admitted domestic violence. At the time of his death, the rapper was awaiting trial for the 2016 domestic abuse case after he was charged with beating his ex-girlfriend. Though he had pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence, a secret recording was released after his death, in which he admitted to domestic abuse and other violent acts.