Review Summary: Half-baked by X's own standards, and an unfortunate swansong as a result.
As of late, record companies have been doing everything they can to profit off the deaths of various musicians. First, it was Lil Peep with the release of Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2,
this time around it’s XXXTENTACION with Skins.
It’s not a surprise, considering that major labels have been known to fool around with artists for ages, regardless of the genre in which they perform in, but something about this just feels wrong.
It feels particularly immoral here since a dead musician cannot exactly have any say in the distribution of the content they made while they were alive. They also cannot reap the benefits of the release in any way, but the same could be said about label disputes such as that of Avenged Sevenfold v. Warner Brothers a few years prior. Regardless, this is yet another example of corporations exploiting those that work for them, which is nothing new.
derives heavily from previous material; “Guardian Angel” in particular feels like a rework of “Jocelyn Flores”, for example. I’m usually one to give more credence to the man’s work, as 17
was a solid offering despite an obvious lack of polish, but something tells me that were he still alive, this project would not be nearly as half-baked as it is. Even by X’s standards, this is far from finished, and it shows. Aside from the abysmal “One Minute”, nothing here really stands out from his other material, and even that track gives off a Members Only
vibe to an extent. At not even 20 minutes, it’s interesting to note that Skins
is not considered an EP, despite hitting the necessary criteria to be seen as one.
As expected, the lyrics and vocal performances are typical of X fare; one minute he’s in a seething rage and out for blood, and another he’s depressed and self-loathing. Prior to his untimely death, he had primarily shifted his focus to the latter, but the former still comes out at times, particularly in the aforementioned “One Minute”, where he screams his head off after a lengthy verse from Kanye West. Lead single “BAD!” features some of the corniest lines that he’s penned, comparing a “bad” girl to swearing in the least creative way he can. “Guardian Angel” feels somewhat like a spiritual successor to “Jocelyn Flores” in its lyrical content, coinciding with his use of reversed samples of that track. It’s unfortunate that this may be his swansong unless the record labels find another way to exploit him, but I suppose that’s just the way life goes.