The Last XXXTentacion Suspect Surrenders. It’s A New Era For Solving Rap Star Murders.
Just over six weeks after 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion was fatally shot during a robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida, all four of his suspects have been arrested and indicted for murder. The incident took place on June 18 just outside of a motorcycle dealership while the #1 charting artist Jahsey Onfroy was sitting in a vehicle. Onfroy was shot multiple times as suspects removed a bag containing cash from the car.
Yesterday (August 7), 20-year-old Trayvon Newsome surrendered to authorities at his lawyer’s office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to Pitchfork, he was booked on charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.
If the suspects are convicted, XXXTentaticion’s murder investigation will represent something atypical in the Rap community, historically. The murders of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Jam Master Jay, Big L, Seagram, and Mac Dre all remain unsolved by law enforcement. Like XXX’, Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. had #1 albums.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, surveillance and technology were not as advanced or available as they are today. While footage from the night of Biggie’s shooting captured the shooter’s car, there are now cameras more readily available on between security and cellphones. XXX’s death garnered public outcry on social media on platforms that did not exist 15 or 20 years ago. Presumably, this and increased interest in the mainstream news media prioritizes these higher-profile investigations on the part of authorities.
Notably, those two high-profile murders, in 1996 and 1997, respectively, have become literary and Hollywood fodder, especially in the last year. Earlier this week, it was reported that City Of Lies, a film based on Detective Russell Poole’s investigation of Biggie’s murder, will not be appearing in theaters. That film stars Johnny Depp and Forrest Whitaker and is based on Randall Sullivan’s 2001 text, LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G, the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal.
This year, the USA network aired Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The dramatic series is based on Detective Greg Kading’s findings on the Biggie murder investigation. Now retired, Kading published as Murder Rap and a corresponding documentary. His initial findings led him to a possible connection from Biggie’s assassination to a shooting that fatally wounded Tupac Shakur six months prior (September 7, 1996). Additionally, Ice-T and Soledad O’Brien hosted FOX special, Who Shot Biggie & Tupac? less than one year ago. A&E also ran its series, Who Killed Tupac? last fall.
In many of these unsolved cases, prominent figures in the music community have gone on record to accuse killers, as well as confirm (or deny) investigative theories.