Empire Founder Ghazi Shami Discusses XXXTentacion's Transformation And Legacy

The record executive shares his thoughts on the late, controversial entertainer.

(AllHipHop News) Before his untimely passing, XXXTentacion released two studio albums via the California-based Empire Distribution. Empire's founder, Ghazi Shami, spoke to Beats 1 on Apple Music about Triple X's death and cultural impact.

"The only word I can use to describe it was catastrophic because it affects everybody on so many different levels. The kid was a genius," Shami declared. "I spent most of my life in the studio, creating records - not on the executive side, putting them out - that’s been the latter part of my music endeavors, and I've been around a lot of talented people and a lot of creative genius, I think this kid was only scratching about 10 percent of his potential."

He continued, "We spent a lot of time talking about things that were not music related - cultural or social injustices. There were so many things that I feel like he could have affected the world in a positive way, had he had the opportunity to live out a full legacy."

Fans of XXXTentacion value the rapper's music. However, some detractors took issue with the 20-year-old's alleged history of violent and homophobic actions.

"There's a whole generation of youth that looked to him for a voice," said Shami. "I think that watching him mature as a human being in just the 14 months that I knew him - 16 months, whatever it was. To see him go from a child - he was 18 years old when I met him in the jail and did a record deal with me, to where he was at now."

The industry insider added, "Just the conversations he was having with me, and the things that he was focused on, and the things that he wanted to accomplish, showed the potential of what he was going to contribute to the world. I think it was cut catastrophically short."

Empire has also distributed recent music by Tyga, Freddie Gibbs, SOB X RBE, Mozzy, Brockhampton, and Trevor Jackson. The company was founded in 2010 and released early projects by Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Rich Homie Quan, Anderson .Paak, DRAM, and more.