Rapper XXXTentacion reportedly signed a $10 million record deal shortly before he was shot and killed outside a motorcycle dealership in South Florida.
Despite the many controversies surrounding XXXTentacion before the 20-year-old was killed, independent label Empire reached a deal to release his third album. According to The New York Times, the deal was worth about $10 million, sources said.
Empire founder Ghazi Shami told the Times XXXTentacion finished "a significant amount of material" for another album.
However, the new music could be delayed since XXXTentacion had a record contract with music giant Universal Music Group. That means his first posthumous album might not be out until October at the earliest. UMG released XXXTentacion's second album, ?, in March. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and includes the hit singles "Sad!" and "Changes."
After his death, "Sad!" topped Billboard's Hot 100 chart. XXXTentacion's family also released the music video for "Sad!," which shows the rapper fighting himself at his own funeral. It has more than 60 million views on YouTube alone.
But before his death, XXXTentacion was concerned his brief Spotify ban due to its "hateful conduct" policy would hurt his chances at future success.
"Are you sure you want to sign me, even when my streams are down?" Shami said XXXTentacion asked him.
“I said, ‘I believe in you; I don’t believe in playlists... Playlists are nice. You are a musical phenomenon,'" Shami recalled to the Times.
Bob Celestin, a veteran entertainment lawyer who met XXXTentacion in 2016, said the rapper was intent on controlling his music. Instead of taking a traditional record deal, he preferred the one-album deal with Empire, which included a lower upfront payment and still gave him ownership of his songs. He also secured a higher royalty rate.
XXXTentacaion negotiated a similar deal last year, after his first album, 17, was released in August 2017 and hit No. 2 on Billboard, he signed a one-album deal with one of UMG's labels for $6 million.
"He wanted to control his destiny," Celestin said.
XXXTentacion was shot and killed on June 18 in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Police arrested Dedrick D. Williams and charged him with first-degree murder. Police issued arrest warrants for two other suspects allegedly involved in the murder. On June 27, TMZ reported that the U.S. Marshals are helping the Broward County Sheriff's Office find the other suspects.
At the time of his death, XXXTentacion was awaiting trial on domestic violence charges related to an October 2016 arrest. The charges included aggravated battery of a pregnant woman who was his former girlfriend.1comments
The allegations of abuse led Spotify to pull his music from the streaming service, although they later put the songs back. Two days after his death, XXXTentacion set a new record with 10.4 million streams of "Sad!" on June 19. That broke a record previously set by Taylor Swift.
The rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was laid to rest after a public memorial on June 27.