According to a report from the New York Times, weeks before his sudden death, rapper XXXTentacion signed a $10 million album deal with Empire.
Recall that the death of the 20-year-old Florida native shocked the hip-hop community and resulted in a spike in sales and streams of his first two projects, 17 and ?, both of made the top 5 of the Billboard 200 album last week.
Complex adds that 17 was released under the independent music distribution company Empire, and the company gave the rapper a huge deal for his third official project. And the company founder Ghazi Shami confirmed that X, did complete “a significant amount of material” for the album before he was shot and killed on June 18.
Here’s what Shahim said in an interview with Beats 1 earlier this month, when the rapper died:
“His loss is catastrophic. There’s a whole generation of youth that looked to him for a voice. I think that watching him mature as a human being in just like, the 14 months that I knew him—16 months, whatever it was. I mean, to see him go from a child—he was 18 years old when I met him in the jail and did a record deal with me—to where he was at now, just before it passed away…just the conversations he was having with me, and the things that he was focused on, and the things that he wanted to accomplish, showed the potential of what he was going to contribute to the world. I think it was cut catastrophically short.”
Complex further adds that X’s unreleased music is expected to eventually see the light of day, though it’s not clear when. And the New York Times reports the earliest it can drop is October, due to a clause in X’s deal with Universal Music Group for his No. 1 album ?.
It’s still unclear if Universal will play any part in the release of X’s untapped catalog, or what stake the rapper’s heirs—his mother and brothers—will have in the rollout of unreleased music.