The morning after controversial SoundCloud artist XXXTentacion was shot dead in his car before leaving a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, both police and the rapper's friends and family are still struggling to understand who might have shot him.
Although the 20-year-old, born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, had received widespread criticism for allegations of brutal domestic abuse, investigators have not determined a motive for the murder and have not yet made any arrests. Both police and members of his inner circle interviewed by New Times say the killing might have simply been a robbery gone wrong.
"I didn't hear about him having beef with anyone locally," says Talyssa Lee, an acquaintance of Onfroy's and one of the few defenders of his domestic-abuse accuser.
The facts around his killing, at least, are clear: Around 4 p.m. yesterday, the rapper was leaving Riva Motorsports when he was approached by two armed suspects. At least one of the suspects fired into the car, hitting Onfroy. The pair then fled the dealership in a black SUV, identified in a dispatch call obtained by TMZ as a Dodge Journey. In the call, the suspects are also identified as wearing hoodies and a red mask.
Witnesses at the scene told TMZ that the rapper did not have a pulse when authorities arrived. He was rushed to Broward North General but later pronounced dead around 5:30 p.m.
In a news release, the Broward Sheriff's Office stated it believes the shooting might have started as a robbery. According to witnesses, a Louis Vuitton bag went missing from Onfroy's car after the incident.
Friends say they also doubt the killing was motivated by XXXTentacion's music career or his turbulent personal relationships.
"I feel like the people around him wouldn’t have the guts to do it," Lee says. "They’re all kids. They couldn’t even stand up to him about Geneva [Ayala, the young woman who accused him of abuse]."
Another acquaintance of Onfroy's, South Florida videographer Daniel Calle, says he didn't know of any ongoing feuds involving the rapper.
"I'm still trying to figure it out," Calle says. "No one knows anything."
But the SoundCloud rapper was no stranger to trouble. At the time of his murder, he had been on what his lawyer called a "modified house arrest" while awaiting trial for a long list of charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, false imprisonment, and witness harassment.
During his short but wildly successful music career, the rapper also started several feuds with other artists. In early 2017, Onfroy accused Drake of plagiarizing the beat of X's single "Look at Me!" and called him a "fuck n***a." Later that year, after XXXTentacion was jumped at a show in Southern California, he released a video accusing the rap trio Migos of arranging the attack. In the video, Onfroy brandishes a gun and asks, "After all the shit I’ve been talking, how the fuck you ain’t shoot me?" (Migos member Offset later responded by calling the accusations "silly.")
Onfroy also had a tattoo on his wrist that read, "Fuck Purrp," in reference to fellow South Florida rapper SpaceGhostPurrp, who rose to fame in 2012 after the release of the album Mysterious Phonk. Onfroy thought Purrp hadn't helped his fellow Florida musicians after his success and hadn't treated his fans well.
"SpaceGhostPurpp is the type of person that if little girls come to him trying to kill themselves, he’ll probably manipulate them and tell them to do it," Onfroy said in a 2016 interview with the hip-hop podcast No Jumper. "I’m the type of person that if I’m going to lead this shit, and people are going to idolize me, I’m going to lead them in the right direction."
Most notable, Onfroy had ongoing drama with his best friend and longtime musical collaborator, Stokeley Goulbourne, who performs under the name Ski Mask the Slump God. In October 2017, Onfroy uploaded a story to Instagram asking fans to "tell Ski Mask to be my friend again." Goulbourne responded on Instagram, claiming Onfroy had threatened his family. After a long fallout, the two reunited when they performed a set together at Rolling Loud in May.
But none of those feuds occasioned any serious violence, and none was ongoing at the time of the rapper's death, leading fans and friends to look elsewhere for the culprit in his murder.
Shortly after Onfroy was pronounced dead, fans took to Reddit and Twitter with a theory. They claimed another local rapper, Soldier Kidd, who posted an Instagram story near the scene and who had recently uploaded a photo with a red mask, might have been the perpetrator.
Kidd went on Instagram live to deny the allegations.
"I don't even know what to tell you," he said. "That's fucking crazy."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Broward Sheriff's Office homicide detectives Walt Foster or John Curcio at 954-321-4210. Anonymous tips can be sent to Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or browardcrimstoppers.org. Authorities are offering a reward of up to $3,000 for tips that lead to an arrest.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.