XXXTentacion signed a $10 million deal for the release of his third album a few weeks before he was shot and killed in June. According to The New York Times, the rapper had worked out an agreement with Empire, the independent music company that released his first album 17, for the release of his follow-up to 2018’s sophomore effort ?. Ghazi Shami, Empire’s founder, told the Times that X had completed “a significant amount of material” for the album, but a release schedule had not yet been laid out. The deal is said to be worth around $10 million.
The report also states that due to a clause in XXXTentacions’s last contract with Caroline (through Universal Music Group), the album will likely not be able to see release until at least October. The Caroline deal for ? was worth approximately $6 million, per the report.
At the time of his conversation with Shami, X had just been removed from popular Spotify playlists as part of the streaming service’s short-lived “hateful conduct policy.” The rapper faced disturbing allegations of abuse, including the alleged beating of his pregnant girlfriend, which was outlined in a testimony from the alleged victim obtained in September 2017. According to Shami, the rapper mentioned the ban he was facing during their conversation. “Are you sure you want to sign me, even when my streams are down?” Shami recalls the rapper asking. “I said, ‘I believe in you; I don’t believe in playlists… Playlists are nice. You are a musical phenomenon.’”
XXXTentacion’s music has seen a huge increase in streams following his death. The week after he passed, his single “SAD!” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, making him the first lead artist to posthumously top the chart since The Notorious B.I.G with “Mo Money Mo Problems” in 1997.