Many people glamourize the idea of being a famous musician, imagining the glitzy lifestyle, the lucrative paycheques, and the creative vibes. Whilst this may be the case for many, fame often takes its toll on a musician, and this has sadly led to musicians losing their life too soon.
From Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain, there have been countless tragedies such as this, but none shook me up more than XXXTENTACION. I absolutely loved this dude. I listened to his music every day after school and he truly spoke to me in a way that I can relate to.
When his untimely death occurred, I felt like I had lost a friend.
XXXTENTACION passed away a while ago now, but I’m still grieving, and I’ve decided to write the following piece on the saddest XXXTENTACION songs to help provide me some closure.
I hope that it’s as therapeutic for you as it is for me!
1. I spoke to the devil in miami, he said everything would be fine
To start my list of the saddest and most depressing XXXTENTACION songs, I’ve decided to begin with “I spoke to the devil in miami, he said everything would be fine”. In my opinion, this is the perfect place to start if you have never listened to XXXTENTACION.
The sparse texture, lo-fi piano loop, and sad vocal delivery just hit differently from any other artist I have discovered. Seriously, can you think of any other artist who produces a vibe like this?
Truly a work of art…
2. A message to Tina Belcher
A lot of people tend to associate XXXTENTACION with emo rap, SoundCloud rap, and trap music, and whilst there is certainly an overlap here, songs such as “A message to Tina Belcher” really make the artists stand out from the crowd.
This song, similarly to the last one, captures an eye-watering sad vibe through electroacoustic sample arrangement. There’s no beat, there are no adlibs, and the production value isn’t particularly amazing.
However, it features vibes that stand out from anything else I have ever heard.
3. KILL ME
The last two songs that I’ve listed have been beatless, with no drums to be found anywhere. Not all of XXXTENTACIONs songs are like this, but many of them feature at least some element of sparse textural arrangement.
“KILL ME” is a classic example of this. Most of the track is ambient and soft, with lo-fi autotuned vocals cutting through with devastatingly sad lyrics, it’s a unique vibe. However, just as the song is finishing up, some heavily clipping trap drums come in changing up the vibe with a perfect climax.
Easily one of the hardest-hitting and saddest XXXTENTACION songs.
The next track that I wanted to talk about is “NEVER”, released on XXXTENTACION’s 2017 album 21XXX. I’ve never been able to place exactly what it is about this song, but it got me through some insanely difficult times.
I always thought I was unique in this experience, but I was recently reading the comments section to this song and couldn’t believe what I saw. Hundreds, if not thousands of fans were commenting on how this song got them through hard times or even saved their lives.
Now that’s what I call musical therapy.
Sometimes musicians tackle sadness by creating something so beautiful that it brings a tear to your eye and inspires you to get through tough times. However, some emotions are simply too strong to sugarcoat, a vibe I have always got when listening to “King” by XXXTENTACION.
Seriously, it’s haunting how raw this song is. From the amateur production style to the painful vocals, it is honestly quite a hard listen. I would recommend that you persevere through, not every song can be uplifting, it’s easily one of the saddest XXXTENTACION songs.
Whilst a lot of XXXTENTACIONS saddest songs feature more singing and sound collages over rapping, there are exceptions. “Snow” is one of my favorite choices here, with the rapper effortlessly rhyming bar after bar with a flow that just screams talent.
The lyrics of this song are sad, but I think the saddest thing about it is the lack of confidence and trouble that you can hear in XXXTENTACIONS’ voice. It’s like he didn’t believe that his vocals were a good contribution to music, but I honestly couldn’t think of someone who contributed more to hip-hop.
You’ve probably noticed by now that it’s pretty rare to hear an XXXTENTACION song with drums, but when they are included in tracks such as “Teeth”, it’s certainly a treat.
Most trap artists tend to use ultra-clean hi-hats and complex triplet patterns, but not XXXTENTACION. The hi-hats are tuned down so that they sound sloppy and skippy, the triplets are there but in a lazy manner, it’s almost like the “mumble rap” of beats.
That may not sound like a compliment, but it really is – I love it. It’s a perfect foundation for one of the saddest XXXTENTACION songs.
We’ve mainly looked at the raw and lo-fi aesthetic of XXXTENTACION, but in case you missed it, let’s remind ourselves that his music wasn’t always like this. Most notably, his 2018 album ? saw a huge improvement in production value, particularly on songs such as “Changes”.
I was honestly unsure what I felt about this at the time. I think that the DIY aesthetic of his past material really allowed his vibe to shine brightly, and I think the improvement in production took this away slightly. Regardless, “Changes” would be one of my favorite songs regardless of how it was made, stunning.
9. Save Me
I’ve always felt that XXXTENTACION’s vocals stood out in comparison to artists that he was associated with such as Lil Peep and Lil Uzi Vert. They have a lot less energy to them and feel like they were recorded in his bedroom, and whilst that may sound like a bad thing, I’m telling you it’s not.
However, the musician did project his vocals more clearly on some of his songs such as “Save Me”. I usually prefer his lazy projection, but I think it works really nicely at making this one of the saddest XXXTENTACION songs.
10. ALONE, PART 3
We’ve sadly come to the end of this list, but let’s be honest – it simply would not be complete without listing the series of “Alone” songs by XXXTENTACION, specifically my favorite which is the third part.
This is another well-produced song from the artist’s 2018 album ?, and not only is it my favorite song on the album and in the “Alone” series, but I think it’s my favorite XXXTENTACION song overall.
I’ve always admired musicians’ abilities to make conceptual music, and the “Alone” series is a stunning example of this. Despite the sad themes of loneliness, it’s a truly beautiful series that everyone should listen to despite how difficult it may be.
That concludes my list of the saddest XXXTENTACION songs. I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing about this magical musician as much as I did.
Justin is an audio engineer with years of experience in the field. He has been creating and playing music his entire life, but he really found his passion for engineering when he was introduced to Logic Pro at age 10. Justin has spent countless hours perfecting his craft and now works as a freelance engineer out of Boston, MA.