‘He left his mark on me, just as a person’

The rapper said he spoke with the late star for three hours on FaceTime in February

J. Cole has recalled a conversation he had with XXXTentacion before the rapper’s death.

XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was shot and killed on June 18 when trying to leave a motorcycle dealership in Florida. He was 20 years old.

Speaking to Billboard, Cole discussed his limited relationship with the rapper. “I spoke to him on FaceTime one day in February for, like, three hours,” he said. “His management reached out to Ib[rahim Hamad, Cole’s manager] and asked if he could FaceTime me or call me. It was a super intense conversation. He left a mark on me, just as a person.”

Asked what the conversation was about, Cole said Onfroy hadn’t even said ‘hello’ to him but began by telling him he wasn’t on Cole’s “level yet”. “He was talking about spiritually and mentally, and that was intense because I was like, ‘Huh? I’m not on no level,’” the rapper said.

He continued: “He was praising me while also saying he was going to achieve whatever it is he felt that I had. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people in my life before, many of them. And right away, I notice that this kid is super passionate and smart, but I could also see that he was so deep in his mind.”

Cole said when he found out about the abuse allegations levelled at XXXTentacion, his first response was to hope he could help the young rapper down the line. “Because anybody who would do the shit that he did… Hurt people hurt people,” he explained.

“I’ve walked through prisons and talked to these dudes who got life. They took someone’s life at 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t had the chance to process your trauma at that age. I’ma be sympathetic to a kid who has clearly been through so much fucked up shit that he inflicted this on someone else.”

This week, police said they believe XXXTentacion’s killers were ‘tracking’ him on the day of his murder. New surveillance footage that was shown in court also showed the moment when his car was blocked leaving a parking lot and two armed men approached his vehicle and shot him.

Meanwhile, J. Cole was due to host his own festival, Dreamville, this summer. The North Carolina event was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.

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