Hip Hop With Emo / Hardcore & Rock Overtones - A gift to fans (or quick cash grab, depending how one views it), Skins exists primarily for loyal XXXTentacion devotees. Clocking in at less than 20 minutes, this posthumous collection offers a jumble of ideas, fleeting emotions, and stream-of-conscious freestyles, centered around the swirling darkness within the late rapper.
Wading through inessential blips such as "Introduction" or "difference (interlude)" (here just for the truly dedicated), there are a handful of worthwhile nuggets on which to focus. While the woozy "Guardian angel" features an impressive, breathless flow, the disturbing "Train food" is a discomfiting nightmare that rides a repeated piano chord over sounds of mass transit. "whoa (mind in awe)" comes close to being a fully-realized song -- the lightest and most pop-friendly production on Skins -- but a pair of ragers featuring Travis Barker steals the show. "STARING AT THE SKY" starts slow with contemplative emo-acoustic guitar strums before exploding into a metallic burst backed by Barker's pounding drums.
Like every other song on Skins, it's all too brief, but works to great effect. On "One Minute," Kanye West returns to Yeezus territory, utilizing the track to showcase himself atop jagged guitar and Barker's crashing cymbals before XXX joins at the end -- almost as an afterthought -- with some bloody, hardcore punk-indebted screaming. These unconventional genre hybrids point to an unexplored direction that XXX might have veered toward if he hadn't been killed, but unfortunately this is as far as they go. Skins takes that unrealized potential and cobbles together these tracks -- basically b-sides and outtakes -- strictly for fans who needed just ten more reasons to hear his voice.