When Juice WRLD released ‘Death Race for Love’ earlier this year, I wrote a review for Pridetime, but it never made the blog. When considering his way-too-early death a couple weeks back, it becomes even more upset, but necessary, to read. Here’s a snippet
“Last week, 22 year old Jared Higgins from Chicago, Illinois delivered the game a message - he, better known around the globe as Juice WRLD - isn’t going anywhere. With a name that both confuses and bothers parents, and lyrics that worry them, Juice has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom in the last year.
His first smash hit, Lucid Dreams, was the tip of the iceberg of well-deserved recognition. However, while the album it appeared on, Goodbye and Good Riddance, sat at the top of the Billboard charts through the dog days of summer, Higgins has been at this since high school - sampling the likes of everything from DMX to Marilyn Manson to find a unique, hauntingly melodic sound.
On his latest album, Death Race for Love, Juice proclaims “I was put here to lead lost souls”. The 21 tracks that follow, in all their nihilistic despair, show that mournful confession to be true. But make no mistake about it, Juice is the best rapper on the planet as of today - because there isn’t another one out there . When he is gone, which ominously seems will be due to himself, he will be remembered as a transcendent legend who changed the very essence of modern rap and re-defined it so listeners of pop music could once again feel something. Of course, as opposed to the instagram-caption-shopping stupidity that has become of the Drake and Cardi B scene.
Some opinionated statements there. Sadly the most reasonable thing I argued there might have been that Juice’s death would be by his own hand. Surely enough it was. A little over two weeks ago, 21 year-old Jarad Anthony Higgins dropped dead of a seizure after disembarking from a private jet at Chicago’s midway airport. A percocet overdose is believed to be the culprit.
When Juice's fans experienced his music, especially upon its release, there was a sense of fleetingness and inevitably, that this might be the last song, the last album he’d put out, that it might be his last live performance. Everyone was a Juice Fan, though. His music was really, really good, and frankly can’t be imitated-- his lyrics were so specifically dark, and we knew he was so real that everyone was a little worried for him. It can not be underscored how popular he was among people my age, how his music did in fact bring people together. It felt like literally every high schooler in Fairfield County was in the audience when he played the Xfinity in Hartford last may. These were people of all walks of life, all music tastes, mind you. Frankly, this is a far more significant musical death to my generation than anything we’ve seen besides Mac Miller in a long time. He was the first real ‘emo-rap’ titan to come out of Soundcloud to make it big time; and his chart topping success inspired likely thousands of aspiring garage band, beat stealing, link-in-bio musicians to do the same.
Like Kyle Root (‘21), better referred to as KiddoDust - who tweeted upon learning of Juice’s passing that morning “stop idolizing these serious drugs. Taking perc(ocet), lean, xans isn’t cool. They kill people that have bright lives to live. ``
As Rolling Stone wrote in Juice’s obituary, “he was the voice for these high school kids”. Hopefully in his loss others are deterred from drugs and seek help when they need it.
December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019