As a longtime Juice WRLD fan, I was drawn to his incredible blend of genres, vulnerable songwriting, and ability to give voice to youth mental health struggles. Here‘s a detailed introduction to one of the most influential emo rap pioneers.
|Full Name||Jarad Anthony Higgins|
|Birthday||December 2, 1998|
|Death Date||December 8, 2019|
From Midwestern Kid to Emo Rap Superstar
Jarad Higgins was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 2, 1998. As a teenager, he began freestyling and writing lyrics, inspired by artists ranging from metal and punk bands to rappers like Chief Keef and Kid Cudi. Juice adopted his stage name in 2015, uploading tracks to SoundCloud where his emotional, genre-bending style quickly built a following online.
In 2017, Juice caught the attention of artist Lil Bibby who signed him to his Grade A Productions. Soon after, Interscope Records added the 19-year-old to their roster for a reported $3 million contract. Juice described this life-changing moment:
"Signing my first major label deal! It’s an unreal feeling, really a dream come true. I’m excited to see where this journey goes in my career and life."
Juice‘s 2018 EP Goodbye & Good Riddance, led by the smash hit "Lucid Dreams," propelled him into the musical stratosphere. His vulnerable lyrics and melodic flows resonated with fans, pioneering the emo rap subgenre. Despite his meteoric success, Juice remained deeply candid about his struggles with relationships, substance abuse, and mental health in his music.
Blending Genres with Raw Emotion
As a lifelong fan of rock, metal, and hip hop, Juice WRLD seamlessly fused these influences into his own brand of emo rap. His songs layered introspective, emotionally charged lyrics with melodic vocals and digitally enhanced production.
Juice explained his genre-bending approach:
"I was raised on rock and rap music…so I‘ve always had this vision of combining them somehow. With emo rap, I found a way to pour my heart out over beats."
Critics praised how Juice‘s fluid rapping and singing voiced universal feelings of adolescence. Tracks like "Lucid Dreams" and "All Girls Are The Same" quickly became emo rap classics. As his fame grew, Juice used his platform to speak candidly about personal struggles in hopes of helping fans feel less alone. His musical vulnerability connected on a profound level.
Collaborations With Rap Legends
As Juice‘s fame exploded, he began collaborating with some of hip hop‘s biggest stars. In 2018, Juice teamed up with Future to form the group WRLD On Drugs, releasing a joint mixtape as a surprise drop. Hit singles included "Fine China" and "Hard Work Pays Off."
That same year, Juice also appeared on Travis Scott‘s song "No Bystanders" and joined forces with Lil Uzi Vert on a remix of his track "Wasted." In December 2018, Juice released the collaborative mixtape Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse inspired by the film. These high-profile team-ups demonstrated Juice‘s versatility and appeal across hip hop audiences.
Tragically, Juice also forged a close bond with fellow emo rap pioneer Lil Peep before Peep‘s accidental overdose in 2017. Their collaboration "Legends" commemorated rappers like Peep, XXXTentacion, and 2Pac who passed too soon. The song‘s message took on new poignancy following Juice‘s own death at 21.
Carrying the Torch of Emo Rap
While Juice‘s career was incredibly short, he leaves behind an indelible impact on hip hop. His confessional lyrics, genre-crossing style, and vulnerability on issues like mental health created the blueprint for today‘s emo rap.
In the wake of Juice‘s success, artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Trippie Redd, and XXXTentacion have pushed emo rap fully into the mainstream. His two studio albums Goodbye & Good Riddance and Death Race for Love both reached #1 on the Billboard 200. Although fans were devastated by his untimely passing in December 2019, Juice‘s legacy continues to shape rap and youth culture today.
As an artist who meant so much to me personally, Juice WRLD will forever be remembered as the prince of emo rap. He gave voice to the struggles so many young people face, changing the scope of hip hop forever. Juice‘s candid artistry lives on through those he continues influencing both in life and death.