Juice Wrld was one of the best artists that the hip-hop/rap scene has seen in an extremely long time, which makes it even more upsetting to know that we have been deprived of such an amazing talent. His spirit will forever live on through his music, but it is unfair that he had to be taken from his fans, friends, and family so soon. Fortunately, Juice Wrld left us with a plethora of music that we know and love, and much more that we have yet to hear and cherish. His unreleased music is set to be released soon in a project album comprised by his family and team. But, for now, this is the story of Juice Wrld and why losing him was a worldwide tragedy.
Jarad Higgins was born on December 2nd, 1998 in Chicago, Illinois. Jarad was noticeably talented from a very young age, and he knew he was destined for greatness. He claimed in countless interviews that he was always drawn to music and knew that he had a skill for it. After making many songs and dabbling in the music realm, he released his debut album Goodbye & Good Riddance in 2018, which was an instant success. The number one song on the album, “Lucid Dreams,” has received over 445 million plays on Spotify alone.
Unexpectedly, Juice Wrld passed away this past December, only a week after his 21st birthday. The news of his death was devastating for people like me, who listened to his music religiously and thought of him as a role model. His untimely death is yet another reminder of the horrible effects that drugs can take over one’s lifestyle. After he had taken a substantial amount of percocets, he slipped into cardiac arrest. A medical squad tried to revive him with multiple doses of narcan, but their attempts to save his life failed.
Even though Juice Wrld’s death was nothing short of a tragedy, we still have very valuable material left behind by him in the form of music. I urge everyone to give him a listen if you haven’t already and to absorb these next few lines, written by him and included in his song “Lean Wit Me” from the album Goodbye & Good Riddance:
Drugs got me sweatin’, but the room gettin’ colder
Lookin’ at the devil and the angel on my shoulder
Will I die tonight? I don’t know, is it over?
Lookin’ for my next high, I’m lookin’ for closure…
I know I’m not right
But I’m not wrong, no, I’m not wrong
Girl, you hate it when I’m too high
But that’s where I belong, where I belong
Now, I know to most people that it appears he is just singing about drugs and being high all the time. But I assure you, if you listen to the tone in his voice and hear the words for what they are, you can understand his pain. Jarad had a serious drug problem since he was in the sixth grade, and he felt as though there was this constant feeling of paranoia surrounding him. He writes in many of his songs that he knows one day he will overdose and that it is inevitable because of the way he lives his life. If only he could have realized that this theory he had of how his life was going to go did not have to hold true.
He was alluding to something much more serious when he says “I know I’m not right but I’m not wrong, no, I’m not wrong.” Jarad was not wrong for wanting to use a vice to cope with his feelings and sadness. He was not wrong for wishing that his heavy awareness of his problems would cease. However, he knows that he is not right for doing things the way he does. He knows that the drugs are bad for him and that he needs to stop, as he says in this song and plenty of his other songs, but alas he became trapped in the vicious cycle that so many talented people fall victim to.
If I could say anything about Juice Wrld, it would be that I will never let the memory of him die. I want the world to know that Juice was here and that he deserved to be heard. He rapped about deep feelings, relationship troubles, and struggles with addiction. These are all things that the majority of the public can relate to and also why I think you should listen to Juice Wrld if you have not yet. You may, like so many other people, return with a different perspective. As someone who has dealt with most of these problems personally, it was refreshing to know these past few years that there was someone else out there with the same thoughts and who was able to fluently express the feelings I could not. He was someone I could turn to and who never let me down because his music was always there; it was something constant for me to turn to. He helped me, and so many others, through bleak times, and that is why losing him was so detrimental to the music community.
If you are not convinced of Juice Wrld’s excellence yet, then I suggest you give his music a listen. I would recommend anything off of his two production albums or, even better, any of his unreleased music available on SoundCloud. He truly speaks to the soul when he sings and everything that he says has genuine emotion behind him. He was a true artist and we will all miss him dearly, but the story of this legend will live on forever. He was too influential for anyone to forget or take for granted, and therefore he will be played for many many years to come. It was Juice’s Wrld and we’re all just living in it.