“King of the Dead” by XXXTentacion
XXXTentacion was an artist who it can be said specialized in macabre lyrics. So all things considered, the first verse of “King of the Dead” can be interpreted as basically being braggadocious in nature. However, he does not proceed to brag about his wealth or even toughness per se, as a conventional rapper would do. Instead, Onfroy depicts himself as “king of the dead”, i.e. a hellish figure who has “demons” under his command. Or as implied along simpler lines later in the verse, the vocalist considers himself a soulless individual.
The second verse gives us a deeper, more down-to-earth look into X’s character – or at least how he perceived himself. And as relayed he is ‘out of his mind’, not in that Eminem sense of the term but as more literally dealing with mental issues. For instance, the vocalist expresses a regular tendency to ‘despise himself’. And as further insinuated, this is due to the fact that he is suffering from a deep depression.
But as depressed as Onfroy may have been, it wasn’t like he was afflicted with negative self-esteem. For in the second verse he more or less reiterates the thesis sentiment of the first, that he perceives himself as “a god amongst the men”.
In fact X was sorta under the impression that he was invincible, or something like that. Or that’s one way of interpreting his assertion that the ‘controls his own death’. But that noted, the vocalist then implies that he’s suicidal or again, something like that. And to note, X also namedrops his crew, Members Only, on this track. Additionally, he presents himself as a prophet of sorts, i.e. someone who ‘feeds the hate and the truth to the youth’, even though such lessons, so to speak, are ‘painful’ ones.
If all of this sounds a little bit confusing as described in this post, well, this interpretation also gives a glimpse into the complexity which defined XXXTentacion’s artistry. Ultimately he didn’t take his own life, but suicide was a recurring theme in his music. And all things considered, perhaps such a disposition did have something to do with his affinity for the dark side, touting himself as the “king of the dead” for example, which was also a standard that defined his lyrics.
Facts about “King of the Dead”
This song’s instrumental was derived from another track that came out earlier in 2015 titled “Battle Cry” by Hellion. Said track was produced by Hellion and an artist called Fifty Grand. As such, they are also acknowledged as the producers and co-writers of “King of the Dead”, with the song’s other author being XXXTentacion.
This song originally came out on 23 October 2015, during X’s SoundCloud era. And it was not officially featured on a larger project until Columbia Records and Bad Vibes Forever put out “Look at Me: The Album” during June of 2022. Said LP accompanies the release of Look at Me, the Hulu documentary about the late XXXTentacion’s life.