Remembering Juice WRLD: The Voice of a Generation

Noah Neri, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Dec. 8, news broke that rapper Jarrad Higgins, more commonly known as Juice WRLD, died of a seizure at the age of 21. His tragic and unexpected death was an abrupt end to the young superstar’s career and left millions of fans worldwide thinking “too soon.”

Juice WRLD was truly a voice of the rising generation. The rapper was one of the first to use the Soundcloud platform to become a star and led the way for many other young artists on the same path. His melancholic lyrics struck a chord with many teens and young adults, who identified with his sorrows.

Fellow rappers like Lil Peep and XXXTentacion also died young in the last few years, yet Juice’s death feels different. Peep and X’s music feels like they were always wary of death and on the edge. Although Juice WRLD’s music had similar “emo rap” themes, his lyrics were oftentimes more glossed over with a pop sheen.

Juice’s path to the spotlight really only began in mid-2017 with his EP “999.” He partnered with producer Nick Mira to make the smash hits “Lucid Dreams,” and “All Girls Are the Same.” These hits, further propelled by Lyrical Lemonade music videos, turned Juice WRLD into a household name. 

In May of 2018, Juice dropped his first full album, “Goodbye and Good Riddance.” This album reinforced him as a very capable and versatile artist who could freestyle both blazing rap bars as well as catchy melodies of heartbreak. Further contributing to Juice WRLD’s stardom were a series of hour-long freestyles on DJ Tim Westwood’s show where he displayed his skillful and witty lyrics.

When Juice’s contemporaries Peep and XXXTentacion fell, he released the two-song EP “Too Soon,” where he mourns their deaths and examines his own mental state. In an eerily predictive lyric of the song “Legends,” he sang, “What’s the 27 Club / We ain’t making it past 21.” In just over a year, Juice would join this “21 Club” himself, making this song even more somber than it previously was to listen to.

After this, Juice had worked with artists of many different genres, such as BTS, Bennie Blanco and Ellie Goulding, to release more successful singles. He released a collaborative album, “WRLD on Drugs” with fellow rapper Future, and most recently, on March 8, 2019, dropped his second album, “Death Race For Love”, where he explored many different styles and had many fan favorite tracks. Juice WRLD’s last released song was “Bandit” with NBA Youngboy, presumably meant to be a part of the teased NBA WRLD collab album.

It is truly fitting that Juice WRLD died on the same date as one of his inspirations, John Lennon, who passed away 39 years ago in 1980. Just as Lennon changed music forever, Juice left an immense impact on the modern rap game and he will be dearly missed. 

Rest in peace, Juice WRLD.