“Royalty” by XXXTentacion (ft. Vybz Kartel, Stefflon Don & Ky-Mani Marley)
XXXTentacion’s “Royalty” focuses primarily on the song’s narrators bragging either about their wealth, violent nature/toughness or both. The “royalty” aspect can be found especially in Ky-Mani Marley’s chorus, where he claims that regality is in his “bloodline”. And from a celebrity standpoint considering that he is the son of Bob Marley, the most-famous Jamaican in history to date, he is qualified to make such a claim. However, by and large the title is a metaphor of how the artists feel about themselves. And it is only Vybz Kartel who implies that the titular designation should be taken literally, as he seems to insinuate that all (Rastafarian) Jamaicans are descendants or Emperor “Haile Selassie” and by extension “royal”. And indeed all four artists featured on this song are of Jamaican descent.
But again, outside of the “royal” framework, this is pretty much a standard dancehall/reggae track. It is only Ky-Mani who really takes a more-conscious approach by alluding to the mental as well as physical challenges he faces in life. XXXTentacion’s verse on the other hand boils down to being about money. Stefflon Don brags about herself being a trendsetter, though like Ky-Mani she also references the haters who have it in for her. Meanwhile Vybz Kartel covers all the basics you would expect in a track like this, with a special emphasis on the street life he is more than qualified to chant about.
So this track serves mainly as a venue where the artists are bigging up themselves and to a lesser extent their ‘hoods. And Ky-Mani Marley’s contribution in particular saves it from reading entirely like a standard dancehall track, as he adds a conscious vibe to the song.
XXXTentacion teased “Royalty” before his murder
XXXTentacion started teasing the release of this track a few months prior to being murdered in June of 2018. And while snippets of the song have been heard by the public since then, its full release was put on hold due to his untimely demise.
His mother, who has been spearheading the issuance of some of his posthumous music, later teased this song’s official release via Instagram on 16 July 2019. And “Royalty” was eventually dropped on 19 July 2019. It is the lead single off of XXXTentacion’s second posthumous album, entitled Bad Vibes Forever.
X’s first collaboration with collaborators
“Royalty” marks the first time any of these artists have worked together in an official capacity. However, XXXTentacion was featured on a remix of Vybz Kartel’s 2016 song “In Heaven”, though that version of the song was never officially released.
Vybz Kartel was in jail when “Royalty” was released
As of the release of this track, Vybz Kartel is in the seventh year of a life sentence he is serving for murder. FYI, he was convicted of murder back in 2014.