Juice WRLD, Rising Rap Artist, Dies at 21


The New York Times last year. “I used to try to hide it a little bit, but now I have a platform for being different.”

“All Girls Are the Same,” his breakout breakup song — “All this jealousy and agony that I sit in/I’m a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon” — took off on SoundCloud, he was signed to Interscope Records at age 19.

From there, his profile rose quickly with the success of “Lucid Dreams,” another belted, distressed lullaby, built around an interpolation of the pillowy guitar in Sting’s 1993 hit “Shape of My Heart.” (Sting, who owned the majority of the royalties for the Juice WRLD song, called it a “beautiful interpretation that is faithful to the original song’s form,” while also joking that it would put his grandchildren through college.)

“Lucid Dreams” went on to hit No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart, anointing Juice WRLD as one of the few SoundCloud rappers to break through to the pop mainstream.

His first album, “Goodbye & Good Riddance,” was released in 2018 and eventually certified platinum; its follow-up, “Death Race for Love,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March. In between, he released “Wrld on Drugs,” a collaborative mixtape with the rapper Future, a stylistic forebear who seemed glad to pass the torch.

Juice WRLD frequently touched on themes of mental health, suffering and mortality in his music.

In June 2018, following the deaths of two of his musical contemporaries, XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, he released a two-track EP online titled “Too Soon,” including the song “Legends,” in which he sang, “They tell me I’ma be a legend/I don’t want that title now/‘Cause all the legends seem to die out.”

would speak openly about his early struggles with substance abuse, including his exposure to prescription pills like Xanax and Percocet as a freshman in high school. Drug use, he said in an interview with No Jumper, “opens doors to feel emotions that you probably wouldn’t usually feel,” but he added, it “can destroy you — utterly destroy you.”

As his star rose, Juice WRLD said he was trying to take better care of himself. “I smoke weed, and every now and then I slip up and do something that’s poor judgment,” he told The Times. “I have a lot going for me, I recognize it’s a lot of big things, a lot of big looks. I want to be there, and you don’t have to overdose to not be there.”

In another interview with The Times, he addressed his penchant for morbidity disguised in sugary hooks. “I talk about stuff like that because those are subjects that people are a) too scared to touch on, or b) don’t do it the right way where people can learn from your mistakes,” he said. “I cherish every mini-second of this life.”

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