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Juice Wrld

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Juice Wrld
A photograph of Juice Wrld talking into a microphone during an interview
Higgins during an interview in July 2018
Born
Jarad Anthony Higgins

(1998-12-02)December 2, 1998
DiedDecember 8, 2019(2019-12-08) (aged 21)
Cause of deathSeizure induced by acute oxycodone and codeine intoxication
Other namesJuiceTheKidd
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2015–2019
Labels
Associated acts
Websitejuicewrld999.com

Jarad Anthony Higgins (December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019), known professionally as Juice Wrld (pronounced "juice world"; stylized as Juice WRLD), was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. His song "Lucid Dreams" has been played on the music streaming platform Spotify over one billion times. "Lucid Dreams" along with his earlier hit single "All Girls Are the Same" helped him gain a recording contract with Lil Bibby's Grade A Productions and Interscope Records.

"All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams" were two of five singles that were included in Higgins' debut studio album Goodbye & Good Riddance (2018), which went on to become certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album enjoyed positive critical reception, and contained three other singles: "Lean wit Me", "Wasted", and "Armed and Dangerous", all of which charted on the Billboard Hot 100. After collaborating with Future on the mixtape Wrld on Drugs (2018), Higgins released his second studio album Death Race for Love (2019), which reached number one on the Billboard 200. It contained the singles "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling".

Higgins died eight months later following a drug-related seizure at Midway International Airport. His death prompted an outpouring of grief across social media and the music industry. His first posthumous album, Legends Never Die (2020), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album was the most successful posthumous chart debut in over 20 years and matched a record for the most top-ten song entries on the Hot 100 at one time. The album's fourth single, "Come & Go" with Marshmello, became Higgins' second song to reach number two on that chart after "Lucid Dreams".

Early life

Jarad Anthony Higgins was born on December 2, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He grew up in the South Suburbs spending his childhood in Calumet Park and later moved to Homewood,[2] where he attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School.[3] His parents divorced when he was three years old,[4] and his father left, leaving his mother to raise him as a single mother alongside one older brother.[5] Higgins' mother was very religious and conservative, and did not let him listen to hip hop. He was, however, allowed to listen to rock and pop music he found on video games such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Guitar Hero, which introduced him to artists such as Billy Idol, Blink-182, Black Sabbath, Fall Out Boy, Megadeth and Panic! at the Disco.[6][7]

Higgins was a heavy drug user during his childhood and teens. He began drinking lean in sixth grade and using percocets and xanax in 2013. Higgins also smoked cigarettes, quitting in his last year of high school due to health issues.[8]

He first learned to play the piano at four years old, having been inspired by his mother, who later began paying for lessons, followed by guitar and drums. Higgins also played trumpet for band class.[8] In his sophomore year of high school, he started posting songs to his SoundCloud which he recorded on his cell phone.[9] Around this time, Higgins began to take rapping more seriously.[10][11]

Career

Early career

Higgins began to develop himself as an artist in his first year of high school. His first track, "Forever", was released on SoundCloud in 2015 under the name JuicetheKidd. Higgins recorded a majority of his first tracks on a cellphone, uploading them to SoundCloud in his sophomore year.[9] His name changed from JuicetheKidd, a name inspired by his affection for rapper Tupac Shakur and his part in the film Juice, to Juice Wrld because it "represents taking over the world."[7]

His first track produced by his main producer Nick Mira, "Too Much Cash", was released in 2017.[12] While releasing projects and songs on SoundCloud, Higgins worked in a factory, but was fired within two weeks after finding himself dissatisfied with the job.[13] After joining the internet collective Internet Money, Higgins released his debut full-length EP, 9 9 9, on June 15, 2017, with the song "Lucid Dreams" breaking out and growing his following.[14][11]

In mid-2017, the artist began to receive attention from artists such as Waka Flocka Flame and Southside, as well as fellow Chicago artists G Herbo and Lil Bibby. He subsequently signed with the latter's co-owned record label, Grade A Productions.[15][16]

2017–2018: Goodbye & Good Riddance

In December 2017, Higgins released the three-song EP Nothings Different. It was featured on numerous hip-hop blogs, such as Lyrical Lemonade,[17] which helped Higgins's track "All Girls Are the Same" gain popularity. In February 2018, a music video directed by Cole Bennett was released.[14] Following the video's release, Higgins was signed to Interscope Records for $3,000,000[18] and a remix featuring Lil Yachty was previewed.[19] "All Girls Are the Same" was critically praised, receiving a "Best New Music" designation from Pitchfork.[20] It was released as a single in April.[21] "All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams" were Higgins's first entries on a Billboard chart, debuting at number 92 and 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively.[22][23]

On May 4, 2018, "Lucid Dreams" was officially released as a single and given a video.[24] It then went on to peak at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100[25] and quickly became one of the biggest streaming songs of 2018;[9] it remains his most-streamed song, reaching over one billion streams on Spotify by January 2020.[26] "Lucid Dreams" was followed by "Lean Wit Me" on May 22, peaking at number 68 on the Hot 100;[27] Higgins' debut full-length Goodbye & Good Riddance, which had all three of the previous singles on it, was released the following day.[28] On June 19, 2018, he released a two-song EP, Too Soon.., in remembrance of and dedicated to deceased rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion, the latter of whom was killed in a homicide case relating to robbery a day earlier. The song "Legends" from the EP charted under its debut at number 65.

"Wasted" featuring Lil Uzi Vert was released on July 10, 2018; it was Higgins' first single featuring a collaboration and, incidentally, the only song on Goodbye & Good Riddance with a featured guest. It debuted at number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100.[29] The next day, Higgins announced he was working on his next album.[30] Following a series of leaks, Higgins' producer Danny Wolf released "Motions" on SoundCloud, giving the song an official release.[31] On July 20, 2018, Higgins announced his first tour, "WRLD Domination" with additional acts YBN Cordae and Lil Mosey.[32]

2018–2019: Wrld on Drugs, Death Race for Love and death

Higgins at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards in August 2018

Higgins was featured alongside Sheck Wes on Travis Scott's song "No Bystanders", from Scott's third studio album, Astroworld. The song peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100.[33][34][35] He also made his late night television debut performing the song "Lucid Dreams" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on August 8, 2018.[36] On October 15, 2018, the music video for the song "Armed and Dangerous" was released[37] and the lead single for the collaborative mixtape, Wrld on Drugs with Future was also released, called "Fine China".[38] The mixtape was released on October 19, 2018, via Epic Records.[39] He also contributed to the soundtrack for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in December 2018, with a song from the soundtrack, titled "Hide", featuring American singer Seezyn.[40]

In December 2018, Ski Mask the Slump God confirmed that he and Higgins would release a joint mixtape called Evil Twins in 2019.[41] The pair also announced a 2019 tour featuring 30 concerts across North America.[42] Higgins' second studio album, Death Race for Love, was released on March 8, 2019,[43] preceded by the singles "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling".[44][45] The album topped the Billboard 200 chart. He then embarked on The Nicki Wrld Tour, alongside Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj.[46] Higgins released the music video for the song "Fast" from the album.[47] Later that year, he released other singles: "All Night", with RM and Suga of BTS;[48] "Hate Me", with Ellie Goulding;[49] "Run";[50] "Graduation", with Benny Blanco;[51] and "Bandit" with NBA YoungBoy, his last song released while he was alive, which peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[52][53]

On December 8, 2019, Higgins collapsed and died from a suspected drug-induced seizure at Midway International Airport in Chicago, after landing at Midway on a private jet from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles. His death provoked an outpouring of grief across social media and the music industry. Higgins' funeral was held in Harvey, Illinois five days later, on December 13, 2019.

2020–present: Legends Never Die, posthumous releases

Higgins' first posthumous appearance was on Eminem's eleventh studio album Music to Be Murdered By on the track "Godzilla", released on January 17, 2020.[54][55] "Godzilla" was very successful and peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100[56] and number one on the UK Singles Chart.[57]

On January 22, 2020, an announcement was posted on Higgins' Instagram account by members of his family and team at Grade A Productions. The announcement thanked fans for their adoration for Higgins and confirmed their intention to release music that he was still working on at the time of his death:[58]

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank each and every one of you for your undivided adoration and love for Juice. You guys meant the entire world to Juice and by listening to his music, watching his videos and sharing your stories about him, you are keeping his memory alive forever. We plan to honour Juice's talents, his spirit, and the love he felt for his fans by sharing unreleased music and other projects that he was passionately in the process of developing. There will be a public tribute in Chicago, details will be shared soon. Love Juice's Family and the team at Grade A

Higgins was included on the title track of G Herbo's fourth studio album PTSD, released on February 28, 2020.[59] The track also features vocals from Lil Uzi Vert and Chance the Rapper.[59] "PTSD" marked the first time that Higgins and Lil Uzi Vert had collaborated on a song since "Wasted".

On March 13, 2020, a remix of the single "Suicidal", from YNW Melly's debut studio album Melly vs. Melvin, was released that featured vocals from Higgins. The remix included a different verse and outro that Higgins had recorded. The song reappeared on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 20 following the release of the remix.[60]

On April 17, 2020, the single "No Me Ame", a multilingual collaboration between Higgins, Jamaican record producer Rvssian and Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA, was released. A computer-generated image of Higgins as an angel appears in the background of the music video for "No Me Ame".[61][62]

On April 23, 2020, Higgins' estate announced on his Instagram account that his first posthumous single, "Righteous", would be released later that night.[63] "Righteous" was released at midnight on April 24, 2020, and an accompanying music video with footage of Higgins was uploaded to his YouTube channel.[64] Higgins recorded the song at his home studio in Los Angeles.[63] On May 4, Higgins' girlfriend announced the title of his upcoming third album and first posthumous album, titled The Outsiders.[65] On May 29, the song "Tell Me U Luv Me" featuring Trippie Redd was released alongside a music video directed by Cole Bennett.[66] "Go", Higgins' collaboration with Australian rapper, The Kid Laroi (whom Higgins mentored), was released on June 12, 2020.[67]

On July 6, Higgins' estate publicly announced the title of the late rapper's first posthumous album had been changed to Legends Never Die.[68] On the same day, Higgins' estate also released "Life's a Mess" featuring Halsey[69] and "Come & Go" a few days later on July 8 featuring Marshmello.[70] The album was released on July 10, 2020, with 21 songs and 4 singles that Higgins' estate claims "best represents the music Juice was in the process of creating".[71] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Five of the songs reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending July 25, 2020: "Come & Go", "Wishing Well", "Conversations", "Life's a Mess", and "Hate The Other Side", which reached number two, five, seven, nine, and ten, respectively.[72] Higgins is the third artist to ever accomplish this feat, the other two being the Beatles and Drake.[73] "Life's a Mess" notably jumped from number 74 to number nine that week.[72] At midnight on August 6, "Smile" featuring The Weeknd was released as a single.[74] "Smile" was previously leaked on YouTube and SoundCloud under the name "Sad", though with an open verse in place of The Weeknd's.[75]

Artistry

Musical style

Higgins stated his musical influences as being genre-wide going from rock music to rap music. Higgins stated that his biggest influences were rappers Travis Scott,[76] Chief Keef,[4] Kanye West[77][78] and British rock singer Billy Idol.[79][80] Higgins was among the ranks of openly vulnerable artists born from the emo rap scene inspired by West's influential fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak (2008).[81] Billboard writer Michael Saponara claimed, "If West and his sparse 808s were a tree, it would have grown another branch with the blossoming art displayed by fellow Chicago native Juice WRLD in 2018."[81] During an interview with All Def Music, Higgins imparted, "I was singing 'Street Lights' like I had shit to be sad about. Kanye is a time traveler. That nigga went to damn near 2015 and came back with some sauce."[81] His other influences included Wu-Tang Clan, Fall Out Boy, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, 2Pac, Eminem, Kid Cudi and Escape the Fate.[82][83][84]

Higgins' music has been branded as "emo" and "rock" leaning, "genre-bending"[78][4] with music focusing on "every broken heart, every wounded feeling."[89] More specifically, he has been labeled as hip hop.[90] trap,[91] emo rap,[92] and SoundCloud rap.[93] With a penchant for short, hook-heavy songs, Higgins seemed a leading figure for the current era of hip-hop. In 2018, the streaming platform Spotify named "emo rap" its fastest growing genre. Higgins achieved arguably the most mainstream success of any artist in the sub-genre. This was boosted by his collaboration with Panic! At the Disco frontman Brendon Urie.[94] Higgins himself considered the emo label to be both negative and positive. He felt that music sometimes has to be a bit dark to reflect his belief that the world is not really a light or a happy place.[95]

Higgins said that "Lucid Dreams" was the only track from Goodbye & Good Riddance that he wrote, while the rest was done impromptu. Rather than write down his rhymes, Higgins crafted whole songs in a few minutes by way of off-the-cuff rhyming.[94] His songwriting process most of the time involved freestyling lyrics instead of writing them down. When he did write songs, it usually began with hearing a beat and instantaneously conceiving an idea.[95] Higgins sometimes found himself alone with an idea for a song and afraid that he wasn't going to remember it hours later when arriving at the studio. For this reason, he sometimes took a voice memo or simply just ended up writing the whole song if it was something he desired to dive deeper into.[95]

Lyrical themes

Higgins saw the value in his position as one of very few contemporary SoundCloud artists who could compose soul-bearing ballads and odes but remain comfortable freestyle rapping over classic hip hop beats.[94] Rather than eschewing it, his freestyles emphasize wordplay and feel indebted to the art form's tradition.[94] He was asked for his opinion on why freestyles no longer are considered the rite of passage in hip hop culture as they once were. He replied, "Stuff is just changing, that's all. We're moving into a new era of music. I feel like it's not necessarily a good thing to forget where shit started, but shit is changing."[94] Though his songs do not always feature very technical lyricism, intricate flows or tongue-twisting wordplay, Higgins managed to deliver inventive flows and memorable bars during his freestyles.[94]

Higgins' most successful singles express melodic, emo-inspired compositions that exhibit his songwriting skill.[94] His songs harbor melodic flows to complement their melancholic subject matter.[94] Higgins claimed he talked about things others are thinking about but afraid to speak on, such as being vulnerable and hurt.[95] Having built a following through emo rap, Higgins offered lyrics that touch on heartbreak and fragmented feelings.[95] Though not entirely groundbreaking, his musical approach provided a sense of familiarity that heartbroken adolescents of the current generation could gravitate towards.[95] Higgins maintained that he only wrote from personal experience, and found strength in his pain and vulnerability.[95] While the lyrical content of his songs often centered around heartache and bitterness, there are occasionally more boastful lines and creative references.[94]

Personal life

Higgins had a history of drug abuse that began at an early age, and he spoke openly about his experiences.[9][1] Higgins' mother Carmella Wallace claimed that he was also dealing with anxiety and depression on top of his battle with drug addiction.[96]

He was living in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Ally Lotti,[65] at the time of his death.[4][9] The pair revealed that they were dating via Instagram in November, 2018.[97]

Death

On December 8, 2019, Higgins was aboard a private Gulfstream jet flying from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to Midway International Airport in Chicago, where law enforcement officers were waiting for the jet to arrive, as they had been notified by federal agents while the flight was en route that the jet was suspected to be carrying guns and drugs.[98] Law enforcement later revealed they found three handguns and 70 lb (32 kg) of marijuana on the aircraft.[99] They also stated several members of Higgins' management team aboard the flight attested that Higgins had taken "several unknown pills",[99] including allegedly swallowing multiple Percocet pills in an attempt to hide them while police were on board the plane searching the luggage.[100]

Higgins then began convulsing and seizing, after which two doses of the emergency medication Narcan were administered as an opioid overdose was suspected.[101] Higgins was transported to the nearby Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.[102][103]

Higgins' funeral was held on December 13, 2019, at the Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ in Harvey, Illinois.[104] Friends and family were in attendance, including collaborators Ski Mask the Slump God and Young Thug.[105]

On January 22, 2020, the Cook County Medical Examiner stated that Higgins died as a result of toxic levels of oxycodone and codeine present in his system.[106]

Reaction

Fellow artist Boosie Badazz suggested that the pilot of the plane was ultimately responsible for Higgins' death, referring to him as a snitch.[107][108][109][110] Rapper Ski Mask the Slump God, his close friend who collaborated with Higgins on the hit song "Nuketown", said on Twitter "They keep taking my brothers from me", referring also to best friend and longtime collaborator XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in June of 2018. Lil Yachty, who remixed Higgins' song "All Girls Are the Same" mourned his death along with Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, The Weeknd and others.[111]

Higgins' mother Carmella Wallace expressed her hope that her son's legacy will help others in their battle with addictions saying, "Addiction knows no boundaries, and its impact goes beyond the person fighting it. We hope the conversations he started in his music and his legacy will help others win their battles, as that is what he wanted more than anything. We know that Jarad's legacy of love, joy and emotional honesty will live on."[112] Wallace later established Live Free 999 Fund in honor of Higgins and the battle he faced against addiction, anxiety and depression.[96] The fund's primary goal is to support programs that target young, underserved populations. With a focus on addiction, anxiety and depression, the organization hopes to normalize the conversation about the mental health challenges that Higgins faced, and provide an avenue for people to process those challenges in a healthy way.[96] Higgins' production team and record label have committed to supporting the organization.[96]

In his song, "Legends" – which was dedicated to XXXTentacion, who was murdered in mid 2018 at age 20, and Lil Peep, who overdosed in late 2017 at age 21 – Higgins raps "What's the 27 Club? / We ain't making it past 21."[113] Fans and media outlets commented that he had essentially predicted his own death, as he had died only days after his 21st birthday.[114] He also died exactly 39 years after John Lennon, who Jarad would often mention in songs.[115]

Discography

Concert tours

Awards and nominations

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2018 "Lucid Dreams" Song of Summer Nominated [117]

BET Hip-Hop Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2018 Juice Wrld Best New Hip Hop Artist Nominated [118]

Billboard Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2019 Juice Wrld Top New Artist Won [119][120]

References

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