The Chicago born rapper Jarad Anthony Higgins - Juice WRLD - passed away yesterday.
His music and presence had revolutionised the hip-hop sub-genre, emo-rap. He had such an immense impact on the lives of many, including this writer. His dedication to bringing emotion and a true sense of pain to his music, resonated with the masses, he ventured into topics most rappers would shy away from.
He was young at heart. Young in mind, even, and on his way to become a different type of rock star, and a spokesperson for all the hurting hearts across the world.
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Juice WRLD started gaining an audience for himself in June 2017, when he released his debut EP '9 9 9' to SoundCloud. It started gaining traction all over Chicago, and slowly over more and more states. 'Lucid Dreams' was the song that broke out of that EP, and it made its way to radio stations all across the world, with people sharing it, streaming it, and just being in awe of how beautifully he sampled Sting’s 'Shape Of My Heart'.
From then on out, Jared started to just elevate his music to a completely different level, making his name known across social platforms and radio stations. He released two studio albums during his career, rumoured to have had a third LP well under way.
Jarad had also released a collaborative mixtape, with the Atlanta rapper Future. Known as being one of the best melodic rappers to ever grace the stage, the collaboration did not disappoint. Their different voices and flows placed together was an incredible experience to listen to.
'WRLD On Drugs' (2018) is the perfect title for the project, as that is what unfolds as you listen to tracks such as 'Fine China', '7 AM Freestlye' and 'No Issues'. The feeling of being intoxicated is prevalent during a listening session, even if in a sober mind-state.
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His first studio album 'Goodbye & Good Riddance' (2018) was a vision he had created, to help anyone going through certain situations in a relationship, or that needed an escape from reality. The album had an outer-world sound, the feeling I have when I listen to it is of being transported to a spiritual plain, where all the issues that the real-world has to present are all just there floating, but not having an effect on you.
'All Girls Are The Same', 'Lucid Dreams', 'Lean Wit Me' and 'Wasted (Ft. Lil Uzi Vert)' all quickly became fan favourites. They all touched upon the heartache a relationship can cause, and were seen as perfect remedies for the heartbreaks.
The second studio album 'Death Race For Love' (2019) was incredibly well-received by the music industry, making its bow at number one on the Billboard charts. This album saw a more vulnerable side to Jarad. When listening to songs like 'HeMotions', 'Maze', 'Empty' and 'Hear Me Calling' you sense a feeling of pain and sympathy for the late rapper. This album personally really resonated with me; it plays out like a transition from pain to happiness.
'Death Race For Love' placed Juice WRLD in the upper echelons of the industry, ending the year with over three billion streams. It is clear to see, he has an impact on the masses.
Juice WRLD's music had always been about pain, drug-abuse and loss. It reached out to a market of listeners that had long seemed forgotten about, the people suffering with mental health issues that required an escape from reality even for that split second.
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Searching social media in the hours after his death, it was explicitly visible just how Jarad had helped a lot of people get through those patches of mental health issues, with fans sharing moving testimony.
It’s honestly so sad to see such a talented young person pass away at the start of their road to success, especially a person as talented and influential as Jarad. He spread nothing but positivity and love through his music, in the process letting his listeners know that everything is eventually going to be OK, no matter how hard it may have seemed. To many he was a rockstar. To me he’s a lifesaver.
Our heart goes out to his family and friends, may you rest in peace Jarad Anthony Higgins. Gone but never forgotten.
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Related: To Infinity - Juice WRLD Interviewed
Words: Ramy Abou-Setta
Photography: Keith Osiro
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