On Oct. 8, 2016, then-18-year-old Jahseh Onfroy was arrested in Miami-Dade County in Florida and charged with four felonies: aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness tampering. The charges stem from allegations made by Onfroy’s then-girlfriend who, according to an arrest report, had been “punched to where both eyes became shut and [she] could not see.” Photos of the bruising on her face spread across social media.
Four months after the arrest, Onfroy’s debut single, “Look at Me,” released under his rap moniker XXXTentacion, debuted at No. 95 on the Billboard Hot 100. His music career has been on a steady upward trajectory since: “Look at Me” peaked at No. 34 in April; his SoundCloud followers more than quadrupled to 1.4 million; and on Sept. 3 his debut album, 17, released on Bad Vibes Forever/EMPIRE Recordings, launched at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-charting debut in EMPIRE’s history. It has earned 313,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. through Oct. 12, according to Nielsen Music.
Excerpts from the January testimony of Onfroy’s alleged victim, which were published by Pitchfork on Sept. 8 and described her claims in graphic detail, didn’t slow his ascent. His album remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the next three weeks, and stands at No. 14 on the Oct. 28 chart. Onfroy has repeatedly denied each claim, saying the alleged victim was jumped by others and was not pregnant at the time of the incident. In videos posted to social media, he said, “Everybody that called me a domestic abuser, I’ma domestically abuse y’all little sister pussy from the back.” A trial is set to begin Dec. 11.