XXXTentacion hooked up with LA-based songwriter and producer John Cunningham for this melodic ballad. They started work on the song in January 2018 and after a few days the Floridian uploaded a gaming video to his YouTube channel showing him playing the video game, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The intro to the video was a preview for "Sad!"
XXXtentacion continued to preview the cut over the next couple of months at the beginning of his gaming videos on his YouTube channel. He finally dropped the tune on March 2, 2018.
The song finds XXXtentacion struggling with depression over a romance that he fears is going to end. He explicitly threatens suicide if his girlfriend leaves him.
Who am I? Someone that's afraid to let go, uh You decide if you're ever gonna let me know (yeah) Suicide if you ever try to let go, uh I'm sad, I know, yeah, I'm sad, I know, yeah
XXXtentacion has been very public about his battles and struggles with mental illness. In 2017, the Floridian announced that his debut album, 17, was "for the depressed ones" and several of the tracks centred around the emotional struggles of letting go of a loved one. Another song "Jocelyn Flores" was about a friend of his who suffered from depression and committed suicide.
"Sad!" amassed 10.4 million streams on Spotify on June 19, 2018, the day after XXXTentacion was shot dead. It broke the single-day record for streams in the platform, which had previously been held by Taylor Swift's 2017 comeback track "Look What You Made Me Do" with 10.1 million.
"Sad" topped the US Hot 100 a week on from XXXTentacion's death. XXXTentacion became the first artist to earn a posthumous #1 single as a lead artist in the US since Notorious B.I.G. did so in 1997 with "Mo Money Mo Problems."
The song had previously peaked at #7 on the US singles chart three months earlier. Having dropped to #52, it vaulted to #1 following the rapper/singer's shooting.