This world was left in awe when early this week, we were left with the unfortunate passing of Jarad Higgins, known mostly by his stage name Juice WRLD.
Higgins passed away at Chicago’s Midway Airport after suffering a medical emergency, later revealed as a seizure. Happening less than a week after his 21st birthday, the talented young rapper was said to suffer the seizure after deplaning from a private jet on an early morning flight from California back to Chicago. The reports state that he had blood coming from his mouth, and was later transported to a local hospital, but was soon after pronounced dead.
Born December 2nd 1998 in Chicago, Illinois, Higgins, like many of us, experienced heartbreak at a young age when his parents divorced in 2001 – leaving him and his older brother to be raised by their mother. Higgins was left so emotionally wounded that when asked once if he could have a conversation with anyone throughout history, it would have been his estranged father; revealing how scared he was from the dissolve of their relationship, and that it was always at the forefront of his thoughts. In June of 2019, Higgins‘s father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was left with no real closure, which had a huge impact on both him and his music.
“Something Ain’t Right With My Mind So I Lost It”
Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Higgins lived a life of love for music. Learning to play piano at a young four years old, he continued his passion for music following guitar and drums. In fifth grade he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. At the request of his mother, he was prescribed Ritalin, Vyvanse, and other mind-altering drugs. Though he was normally supportive of his mother, he disagreed with her decision to medicate him at such a young age. This had a large influence on him, explaining that he believed mental health is neglected as a whole in the Black community; a topic he felt passionately about and tirelessly tried to change.
He drew a great deal of inspiration from life experience, but also from video games, such as everyone’s favorite Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and other classic Guitar Hero. From these influences was a strew of rock and pop, including Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Falling In Reverse, and his favorite, Billy Idol.
His sophomore year in high-school was the time when Higgins began to take his rapping to the next level. Coincidentally, it seems, during this time was a period of heavy drug use for him. From Lean as early as 6th grade, to Percocet’s, and Xanax well into 2016. Whether it was depression, a chemical imbalance related to the ADD medication, or a combination of all these factors, Higgins ultimately ended dropping out of high school in 11th grade due to deteriorating health from heavy drug use.
"In Love With All Your Flaws & Sins. Your scars are really gorgeous."
“More Than a Millionaire, I Wanna Change the World”
Higgins took on one of our favorite genres; a combination of emo-rap music. He started his venture into the music world when he recorded his first song “Forever” on his cellphone, and published it to SoundCloud under the name “JuicetheKidd”. Soon after, he changed his name to “Juice WRLD,” an ode to Tupac‘s part in the movie Juice. To the young Tupac fan, “Juice Wrld“ signified “taking over the world”.
And, that he did. In 2017 after releasing a three-song EP Nothing’s Different, he gained attention from major music blogs and other outlets.
He had his first mainstream hit in the summer of 2018. “Lucid Dreams” found its way to the top of the Billboard charts, followed by the remix to “All Girls Are The Same,” featuring Lil Yachty. The success of the song brought him to sign a multi-million dollar contract with Interscope Records, where he delivered his first studio album Goodbye & Good Riddance. In March 2019, Juice released his second studio album Death Race for Love, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard hot 100, followed by multiple hit singles from the album.
A pioneer to the emo-trap world, like our homie Lil Peep, it’s no surprise that Juice WRLD paid tribute to the late rapper with a 2-track EP titled Too Soon. Featured on this EP was the song “Legends,” where he spits the line, “What’s the 27 club? We ain’t making it past 21,” breaking our hearts to feel that even he knew, similar to talents before him, he wouldn’t spend much time here.
But instead of focusing on the death of Juice, we’d rather talk about the impact that he made on his fans, and the world around him. He made it clear, that he wasn’t in it for the fame and money. Rather, he had plans to change the world, and to a lot of us, he did; blowing the doors off the hinges when it came to male depression and the stigma that surrounds it. Juice taught us to embrace the fact that we are all ‘perfectly imperfect,’ and that it’s okay to talk about these sensitive topics.
“Being Emotional Is One of The Toughest Things”
Juice used the rawest parts of his life for the entire world to see, just to show us that there is no shame in mental problems, addiction, or heartbreak. On the darkest days, Juice was the voice in our ears, validating the feelings we have are real, and we aren’t alone in them. He touched tortured souls in ways that have never been done before, like the great artists that came before him, he changed the world forever.
It was apparent that Juice WRLD‘s career was just about to begin. Working with well-known artists, topping Billboard charts, and even being named in the top five male artists streamed on Spotify in the U.S. this year. He evolved the creation of rap to come, and the view towards emotional vulnerability in Hip-Hop. He was a beautiful soul with a huge heart, that will live in ours forever. Changing lives at the cost of his own. Rest in Power.