The Extraordinary Life of Juice WRLD

Written by Nicole Chedraoui

The untimely death of 21-year- old Juice WRLD continues to reign shock not only on all of his supporters but on the entire music industry. The heartbreaking news of his passing broke the internet and our hearts on Sunday, December 8th. Juice took his final breath at Chicago’s Midway Airport after suffering from an intense seizure. Police are still waiting for the medical examiner to determine the cause of the seizure. While the real cause of his death still remains unknown, the only thing we can do now is reflect back on his life and his many accomplishments in his short 21 years of life. Juice WRLD was more than just a Hollywood celebrity; he was a son, a friend, an inspiration, and a bright light in a sometimes dark world. So, instead of dwelling on his death, focus on taking time out to learn and understand his life and legacy.  

Early Life

Juice WRLD was born Jarad Higgins on December 2nd, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. He spent most of his childhood in his hometown of Homewood, Illinois, where he lived with both of his parents and his eldest brother. His father left the family when he was 3 years old. His Mom had to step forward and work constantly as a single parent raising two boys. She ran a very religious and conservative household where hip hop was never played; however, he was allowed to listen to pop and rock music genres that he found on video games such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Guitar Hero.  The music from these video games introduced him to his love for music at a young age.  It was soon after this, at the age of 4, that Juice started taking piano, guitar, and drum lessons to strengthen his love for music.  During his childhood, he liked to listen to Billy Idol, Blink-182, Black Sabbath, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At the Disco. It wasn’t until high school that Juice started listening to rap, much to his mother’s disapproval. 

School

Like most of the greats, Juice struggled fitting in during his middle and high school years. The one outlet that brought him joy was music, which he tried to play constantly. He even started learning the trumpet in his band class in junior high.  It was also during this time that he began using drugs. In junior high, he drank a lot of lean, a drink all the kids at his school would make with high doses of cough syrup and hard candy. Later, he was introduced to narcotics and cigarettes that posed a serious threat to his physical health. He managed to quit drugs, smoking, and alcohol, in his last years of high school in hopes of saving his body from further health concerns. It was his sophomore year in high school that Juice first got the idea to start recording himself for fun playing with music on his iPhone. He began uploading his music tracks to Soundcloud under the name “Juicethekidd”, inspired by Tupac Shakur’s role on the film “Juice.” Once he discovered that he might want to actually consider rap as a career, he changed his name because it represents “taking over the world”. After two years of uploading tracks online, Higgins had his first debut EP, “9 9 9,” on June 15th, 2017.  Co Produced by Nick Mira and Sidepce, the set featured “Lucid Dreams,” which launched the start of his career. 

Career

After the release of his first set, Juice rapidly gained popularity, which motivated him to keep creating and doing what he loved.  He produced his next first three- song EP titled, “Nothing’s Different,” in December 2017. Juice started to be featured in numerous hip hop blogs, and one of his tracks. “All Girls Are the Same,” became a massive hit. These two hits became so popular Interscope Records signed him. Shortly thereafter, Juice’s “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are the Same” made the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 74 and 92 respectively. In May of 2018 “Lucid Dreams” was announced as an official single and budgeted to produce a really sick music video. If the song wasn’t already popular before, it managed to gain an absurd amount of hype after it’s announcement as a single. To Juices’ disbelief, “Lucid Dreams” became one of the biggest and most streamed songs of the year. 

At the peak of his career,  he unveiled his debut album, Goodbye and Good Riddance, on May 23rd, quickly following it up with a two song EP called “Too Soon.”  This touching EP brought tears to the eyes of Lil Peep or XXXTENTACION fans as Juice dedicated this to his dear friend’s tragic death. Goodbye and Good Riddance debuted at number 15 on the Billboard’s 200 chart, before it climbed to  number 8 the following week. At its peak, the song reached number 6 on the Billboard charts. His popularity continued to grow, and on August 8th he performed “Lucid Dreams” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Juice’s fame didn’t even to begin to subside.  Months after unveiling Goodbye and Good Riddance, the rapper unleashed his joint project with Future, called Wrld on Drugs, which was released on October 19th and produced by Epic Records.  This hit record debuted at number 2 on the Billboard top 200, in addition to also appearing at the top of all of the R&B/ Hip Hop albums chart.  Meanwhile his lead single, “Fine China,” peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Juice contributed to the soundtrack of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. He teamed up with fellow artist “Seezyn” on a track called “Hide.” Shortly after Juice announced that he was releasing a joint album with Ski Mask the Slump God, that would be titled, Evil Twins.  The pair also concluded that they would be going on tour to all places around North America, kicking off at the end of April and concluding in June. 

Evil Twins was apparently not the only album Higgins was working on at the time because in February 2019, he announced the release of Sophomore Album, Death Race for Love. This album featured singles such as “Robbery” and “Hear Me Calling,” which both spent a considerable amount of time at the top of Billboard’s hot 200 ,and ended up being his very first album to ever rank No. 1 album on the weekly chart. 

After releasing his album, Juice decided to team up with Nicki Minaj in The Nicki Wrld Tour, where two incredible artists came together and produced some crazy power house shows.

His Legacy

After being nominated for many MTV Video Music Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards, and even being awarded a Billboard Music award for “Top New Artist,” it’s fair to say that Juice Wrld has proved himself as one of the most influential singers of the era.  Shortly after his passing, celebrities who knew and loved him in real life came forward with touching statements about his kind soul. Ellie Goulding,, who collabed with Juice on their hit song, “Hate Me”, tweeted: “I can’t believe it… you were such a sweet soul. I’ll always remember meeting you and your family on the video set and thinking how close you were. You had so much further to go, you were just getting started. You’ll be missed Juice”. Not alone in the shock, Drake took to social media saying, “I would like to see all the younger talent live longer,” he wrote on Instagram, “and I hate waking up hearing another story filled with blessings was cut short.” Interscope Records said it best: “Juice made a profound impact on the world in such a short period of time. He was a gentle soul, whose creativity knew no bounds, an exceptional human being and artist who loved and cared for his fans above everything else.”

Rest in peace Juice, thank you for helping all of your fans through so much with your music.

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