A Dose of Opinion

Juice Wrld's Legacy on the Rap/Hip Hop Community

July 20, 2020

My first experience with Juice Wrld’s music likely occurred in around July of 2018. I can’t remember why this happened, but his most popular song “Lucid Dreams” began blowing up shortly after it was released, which was impressive, because before 2019, getting your music discovered by a new audience, and then retaining such an audience was difficult before the presence of TikTok, because nowadays a song will easily blow up if someone creates a trend using your music, or famous TikTokers from the Hype House do some silly dance to the music and attracts a large audience to your music. Regardless, Juice Wrld gained his popularity in his own way, and his biggest hit song “Lucid Dreams” gained popularity when it got first released, and is still popular to this day: the song currently has over one billion streams as of July of 2020, two years later.

When I first listened to “Lucid Dreams”, Juice’s melody, word choice, lyrical flow, etc. made his music special, and I could tell how much passion and dedication he put in when making his music. As a listener, I (and likely the majority of his other listeners) have never experienced a painful breakup like he did, but his usage of pathos, even in a song, made all of his music enjoyable to the ears, and ironically, his sad and depressing music would cheer me up. He uses the same amount of emotion and dedication to all of his songs, and at this point I was a supporter of his music. I would hope for more “banger” music from Juice Wrld for the years to come: within a span of a year, I had about 10 of his songs on my playlist. However, just a year later, tragedy would strike. Jarad Anthony Higgins, born on December 2, 1998, would tragically pass away just a couple of days after his 21st birthday due to a seizure at the Chicago Midway International Airport on December 8th, 2019.

It’s been seven to eight months since Juice Wrld died. Juice Wrld died to an accidental drug overdose from painkillers, likely to cope with the depression and other illnesses with his mental health. Unfortunately, rappers dying at young ages is not uncommon to hear, for reasons such as murder, drug overdose, suicide, etc. The list of deaths of popular rappers before 40 is much longer than expected. Other than Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke died at age 20 to murder, Mac Miller died of overdose at age 26, XXXTentacion was killed in a drive-by shooting at age 20, Nipsey Hussle was shot to death at age 33, Tupac Shakur after killed in a drive-by shooting died at age 25, Lil Peep died to overdose at age 21, etc. All of these rappers were legendary in their own ways, and all of them left some sort of a positive impact and legacy that could be carried on by the rest of the rap community. However, Juice Wrld’s death hit the hardest, as I could at least empathize with his music, and his ability to sing and rap with much skill made me sad that I wouldn’t hear more of his music in the future.

Juice Wrld released his final posthumous album on July 10th, 2020, meaning the album was released after his death, which could be made public by the corporation holding the rights to Juice Wrld’s songs. His final album “Legends Never Die”, had 21 songs (including interludes and outros) that were created by himself or featured other famous rappers or singers. This made me recognize his versatility, and his ability to create a song with any person, and the song could still sound amazing. For example, two of the songs in the album encapsulate this idea well: “Tell Me U Luv Me” featured Trippie Redd, while another song “Life’s A Mess” featured Halsey. Trippie Redd and Halsey are both significantly different, especially since Trippie Redd is a rapper with a similar rapping style to Juice Wrld, but Halsey is a singer that has her own distinctive voice that can sing many types of pop music. Only Juice Wrld could bridge the gap between the two and make a song that could entertain listeners. On the other hand, if you were to “walk on the bridge” to the other side, you would find freestyle/mumble rappers, like Eminem, who Juice Wrld collaborated with in the song “Godzilla”, in which Juice Wrld would sing the chorus, while Eminem’s word play allowed him to deliver fiery verses. Juice Wrld is one of the only rappers with that type of versatility, which makes him special, making his death feel like the world lost a truly special person. Rest in peace, Juice Wrld.