Billboard is celebrating the 2010s with essays on the 100 songs that we feel most define the decade that was -- the songs that both shaped and reflected the music and culture of the period -- with help telling their stories from some of the artists, behind-the-scenes collaborators and industry insiders involved.
The story behind Lil Uzi Vert’s nihilistic 2017 smash, “XO TOUR Llif3,” is a classic tale of triumph through tragedy. It starts in 2016, when after creating potential hits with Future and Gucci Mane in a Miami studio, producer TM88 was ready to head back to his native Atlanta to master his soon-to-be successes. But he would get caught up in what would become January’s Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, where a perpetrator flew in from Alaska and took the lives of five victims.
“I was trying to board my flight and then we see a stampede of people just running towards us and we just ran on the plane,” he recalls. In the midst of the panic, TM88 let go of all his prized possessions -- including the beloved laptop that held all of his hard work. “I ended up just dropping all my shit … I got back home and was like, ‘D--n bro, I have nothing.’”