Anime and XXXTentacion Songs Pair Beautifully

The popularity of Anime among Black and African youth isn’t well-documented, but people know it’s there. Even if it’s mostly with mainstream Animes like Dragonball Z, brown-skinned mostly-male Americans are with the shit. They even inspire some hilarious online content.

The adaptation of popular Anime storylines and character traits into young Black male narratives has grown of late. Now that these kids are growing out of their childhoods, their creations reflect the influence Anime truly had on them.

It’s beyond slick jokes and Vines now. Full video projects, complete with recurrent characters, special power moves, and multi-episode plots, are coming out. Naturally, some of these creatives are also into hip-hop. Damn near all of Madeintyo’s joints sound like Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and you can even catch him watching the popular new Anime series Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) in the beginning of his ‘I Want’ video.

But I think the fusion of hip-hop sound and Anime has been represented even better than these comedy series and video references. If you haven’t gotten past ‘Look At Me!’ and the absurd drama that follows this kid, you’ll be surprised at the number of videos pairing XXXTentacion songs with full-blown Anime visuals.

The source of these videos, the Blood Mist Visuals account on YouTube, have taken full advantage of hip-hop’s sound expansion. Along with artists like $uicideBoy$ and Chris Travis, XXXTentacion’s music is heavily featured in these hip-hop/Anime mashups.

I think X’s songwriting and emotional depth is unbelievable. It’s hard to fathom the same guy who yells, “Can’t keep my dick in my pants!” and is best known for having assaulted his pregnant ex-girlfriend could make such vulnerable, touching music. The people (person?) at Blood Mist have/has done a great job synchronizing the images to bring out the most redeeming qualities of X’s rawness. To think that hip-hop has come so far as to soundtrack Japanese television is astounding.

Y’all think this is dope? What do you think?


  1. I was holding off on commenting bc I don’t think I’m entirely ready to peep into what the stuff in this piece might be suggesting quite yet lol.

    Let’s start with dropping both hip hop and anime under the pop culture class. Even if there are people who don’t know much about X beyond “Look at me!” or anime beyond DBZ and AoT, these touchpoints are hypervisible enough in your average high school classroom to be talked on by many with relative ease. Sure, there is some group filtering first, but once you figure out if you’re listening in on a hip hop or anime circle, it doesn’t take long to go from easy-to-access material to insider chatter.

    I would venture to say that both hip hop and anime, bc of their cards into pop culture visibility, have had their fair share of being stripped of the context from which their content matures from. For anime, it’s been understanding that beyond the standalone and precooked a e s t h e t i c picture reels, there are scripted stories that began, middle’d, and ended.

    With regard to anime’s role in providing emotionally charged visuals for emotionally charged lyricism in your piece, is it really fair to say that anime and hip hop are bringing their best and most genuine selves in these m/v mashups? Are the “anime” visuals being repurposed for the sake of trendy internet aesthetics, as opposed to the complete and undifferentiated narrative from which those visuals came from?

    I can’t go deep into questioning X’s place in the hip hop soundscape, but I also wonder about the sort of internet-oriented upbringing the scene that X comes from (soundcloud?). Anime, unlike live action Western dramas, is a mostly online-only affair in a lot of ways. Is there something to how these two subgenres, of hip hop and commercial fiction, hang out and were raised in virtual neighborhoods?

    I personally can’t see you pairing Mobb Deep or K dot with some Makoto Shinkai supercut joints, though I might be off target about this hip hop / anime comparison altogether.

    • Tri,

      This reply is wildly late, but I just published a piece on the recent history of hip-hop’s mingling with anime and revisited this piece. In X’s case, sure, fans thought the shit looked edgy. But there’s something greater to be said about Black Westerners finding deep validation through this medium. Perhaps “The Garden of Words” does not apply to X’s music, but RZA seeing Goku’s journey as a Black man’s journey of self-discovery and heritage reclamation is not stripped of context. The use of hip-hop in soundtracking Afro Samurai is a genuine fusion. Scarlxrd’s extensive inspiration drawn from Tokyo Ghoul preserves the anime’s essence.

      When I wrote this piece, the idea of such a crossover was brand new to me. While XXXTentacion-Anime music videos are not as special to me anymore, they led me to many truer examples of what I thought I had found when I wrote this. Hope this response gives you perspective!


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