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Jarad Anthony Higgins (December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019), known professionally as Juice WRLD (/?d?us ?w??rld/), was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he was known for his singles "All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams" which helped him gain a recording contract with Lil Bibby's Grade A Productions and Interscope Records.[4]

Juice Wrld
A photograph of Juice Wrld talking into a microphone during an interview
Juice WRLD 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 substance intoxication
Buried
Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ, Harvey, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2015–2019
Labels
Associated acts
WebsiteGoodbye & Good Riddance (2018) which became certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album enjoyed positive critical reception, and contained three other singles: "Armed and Dangerous", "Lean wit Me" and "Wasted", all of which charted on the Billboard Hot 100. After collaborating with Future on the mixtape Wrld on Drugs (2018), Juice Wrld released his second album Death Race for Love in 2019, which became his first number-one album on the Billboard 200.

Early life

Jarad Higgins was born on December 2, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois.[5] In 1999, he moved to Homewood, Illinois, and attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School.[6] His parents divorced when he was three years old[7] and his father left, leaving his mother to raise him as a single mother alongside one older brother.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11]

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.[11] In his sophomore year of high school, he started posting songs to his SoundCloud which he recorded on his cell phone.[12] Around this time, Higgins began to take rapping more seriously.[13][14]

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.[12] 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."[10]

His first track produced by his last producer Nick Mira, "Too Much Cash", was released in 2017.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17][14]

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.[18]

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

In May 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.[12] Higgins released his first studio album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, on May 23, 2018.[26] 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.

Higgins's first single as Juice WRLD featuring a collaboration was released on July 10, 2018, titled "Wasted" featuring Lil Uzi Vert. The song was added to Goodbye & Good Riddance and debuted at number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100.[27] The next day, Higgins announced he was working on his next album.[28] Following a series of leaks, Higgins' producer Danny Wolf released "Motions" on SoundCloud, giving the song an official release.[29] On July 20, 2018, Higgins announced his first tour, "WRLD Domination" with additional acts YBN Cordae and Lil Mosey.[30]

Higgins was featured on Travis Scott's Astroworld featuring on the song "No Bystanders" which peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100.[31][32][33] He also made his late night television debut performing the song "Lucid Dreams" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on August 8, 2018.[34] On October 15, 2018, the music video for the song "Armed and Dangerous" was released[35] and the lead single for the collaboration album Wrld on Drugs with Future was also released, called "Fine China".[36] Wrld on Drugs, Higgins' second mixtape and a collaborative project with Future was released on October 19, 2018, via Epic Records.[37] He also contributed to the soundtrack for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.[38]

In December 2018, Ski Mask the Slump God confirmed that he and Juice WRLD would release a joint mixtape called Evil Twins in 2019.[39] The pair also announced a 2019 tour featuring 30 concerts across North America,[40] before Juice Wrld announced in February that his second studio album, Death Race for Love, would be released on March 8, 2019.[41] He then embarked on The Nicki Wrld Tour, alongside Nicki Minaj.[42] On April 9, 2019, the music video for the song "Fast" was released.[43] Later that year, he released other singles: "All Night", with RM and Suga of BTS;[44] "Hate Me", with Ellie Goulding;[45] "Run";[46] "Graduation", with Benny Blanco;[47] and "Bandit" with NBA YoungBoy.[48][49]

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,[50] Chief Keef,[7] Kanye West[51][52] and British rock singer Billy Idol.[53][54] Juice Wlrd was among the ranks of openly vulnerable artists born from the emo rap scene inspired by West's influential fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak (2008).[55] 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."[55] During an interview with All Def Music, Juice Wrld imparted, "I was singing 'Street Lights' like I had shit to be sad about. Kanye is a time traveler. That n---a went to damn near 2015 and came back with some sauce."[55] His other influences included Wu-Tang Clan, Fall Out Boy, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, 2Pac, Eminem, Kid Cudi and Escape the Fate.[56][57][58]

Higgins' music has been branded as "emo" and "rock" leaning, "genre-bending"[52][7] with music focusing on "every broken heart, every wounded feeling."[63] With a penchant for short, hook-heavy songs, Juice Wrld seemed a leading figure for the current era of hip-hop. In 2018, the streaming platform Spotify named "emo rap" its fastest growing genre. Juice Wrld 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.[64] Juice Wrld 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.[65]

Juice said that "Lucid Dreams" was the only track from Goodbye & Good Riddance that he actually wrote, while the rest was done impromptu. Rather than write down his rhymes, Juice Wrld crafted whole songs in a few minutes by way of off-the-cuff rhyming.[64] His songwriting process most of the time involved freestyling lyrics in lieu of writing them down. When he did write songs, it usually began with hearing a beat and instantaneously conceiving an idea.[65] Wrld 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.[65]

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.[64] Rather than eschewing it, his freestyles emphasize wordplay and feel indebted to the art form's tradition.[64] 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."[64] 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.[64]

Higgins' most successful singles express melodic, emo-inspired compositions that exhibit his songwriting skill.[64] His songs harbor melodic flows to complement their melancholic subject matter.[64] Higgins claimed he talked about things others are thinking about but afraid to speak on, such as being vulnerable and hurt.[65] Having built a following through emo rap, Higgins offered lyrics that touch on heartbreak and fragmented feelings.[65] Though not entirely groundbreaking, his musical approach provided a sense of familiarity that heartbroken adolescents of the current generation could gravitate towards.[65] Higgins maintained that he only wrote from personal experience, and found strength in his pain and vulnerability.[65] While the lyrical content of songs often center around heartache and bitterness, there are occasionally more boastful lines and creative references.[64]

Personal life and death

Higgins had a history of drug abuse and spoke openly about his experiences.[12][5] He was living in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Ally.[7][12] The two started dating in early 2019.[citation needed]

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 the pilot had notified them while the flight was en route that the jet was carrying guns and drugs.[66] Law enforcement later revealed they found three handguns and 70?lb (32?kg) of marijuana on the aircraft.[67] They also stated several members of Higgins' management team aboard the flight attested that Higgins had taken "several unknown pills",[67] including allegedly swallowing multiple Percocet pills to hide them while police were on board the plane searching the luggage.[68]

Higgins began convulsing and going into seizures, after which two doses of the emergency medication Narcan were administered as an opioid overdose was suspected.[69] Higgins was transported to nearby Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at age 21.[70][71]

Higgins' funeral was held on December 13, 2019, at the Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ in Harvey, Illinois.[72] Friends and family were in attendance, including collaborators Ski Mask the Slump God and Young Thug.[73]

Discography

Concert tours

Awards and nominations

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2018 "Lucid Dreams" Song of Summer Nominated [74]

BET Hip-Hop Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2018 Juice Wrld Best New Hip Hop Artist Nominated [75]

Billboard Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2019 Juice Wrld Top New Artist Won [76][77]

References

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