On Sunday morning, rapper Jarad Anthony Higgins, otherwise known as Juice WRLD, passed away after suffering a seizure. This came as a major saddening shock to fans everywhere, including myself. Juice WRLD was only on the scene for about a year and a half but he accomplished more in that span than some artists do in their entire careers.
In May 2018, Juice WRLD burst onto the rap scene with his hit single “Lucid Dreams,” which peaked at number two on the Hot 100 chart. This was then followed by his full length debut album “Goodbye and Good Riddance” on May 23. That album, heralded for being an emo testament to rap culture that resembled the late XXXTentacion's work, was seen as a major success for a debut.
I heavily enjoyed “Goodbye and Good Riddance” because Juice WRLD sounded different enough to be his own artist but still similar enough to the genre’s stars to be relevant. Juice WRLD came to the Eastern Michigan Convocation Center back on Jan. 18, 2019 and I was lucky enough to be only 20 feet from the stage. He performed with tenacity, sang acapella multiple times and showed a genuine care for his fans. He even brought fans onto the stage multiple times throughout the performance. I’ll never forget that show.
Riding high after his “WRLD Domination Tour” and the success of “Goodbye and Good Riddance,” Juice WRLD followed with his second solo album Death Race for Love on March 8, 2019. This album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. This was a massive achievement and one that was seen as a sure ticket to stardom. Rap star Young Thug once regarded him as “The best freestyler in the world.” Juice WRLD was now a household name.
As a fan of Juice WRLD, I rooted for him and was happy to see him succeed as much as he did. I think that’s why his death was so impactful on fans because we saw the potential and the success that he had so early on in his career. He had just turned 21 years old, still years from his prime and now we have to wonder “what if?” Similar to the premature deaths of XXXTentacion and Lil’ Peep, these what-if’s seem to be a staple in rap music.
Posthumous music is sure to come out in the coming months, which will help leave his legacy with a little more substance. I’ve never been a fan of posthumous releases of music, as I believe it is only the right of the artist to decide what music of theirs goes out, but it’ll be nice to hear and appreciate a little more Juice WRLD.
Higgins' death was a tragedy. It’s a shame that someone so talented passed, but the true tragedy was that he was only 21-years-old. Regardless of being famous or not or if it was drug induced, no one deserves to lose their life at such a young age.
His early death leaves it up to his fans to remember him. Remember how much the music meant to you and the way it made you feel. Artists may pass away but the way they made and can make you feel is eternal.