The hip-hop music genre has lost yet another trailblazer whose contributions to its culture kept the art form globally relevant in the entertainment and business worlds.
TMZ reported on Sunday (December 8) that Jarad “Juice WRLD” Higgins (pictured) passed away after suffering from a seizure at Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Juice WRLD was only 21-years-old at the time of his death. He had just gained his first taste of major notoriety as a notable staple of the music industry in 2018.
Juice WRLD’s first hit single, Lucid Dreams, debuted at number two on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart when it was initially released. The song’s music video was directed by @_ColeBennett_ and got published on the Lyrical Lemonade YouTube channel on May 10, 2018. Since it was uploaded to YouTube, Lucid Dreams has been viewed almost 400 million times.
Lyrical Lemonade is a multi-faceted media and branding company that was founded in 2013 by Cole Bennett, the director of the Lucid Dreams video. However, Juice WRLD was also a major part of the fledgling brand. The rapper/musician worked very hands-on when it came to designing all the products sold, which exhibited his personal brand as a rap artist.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Juice WRLD is one of the city’s newest acts in a crop of popular hip-hoppers who propelled themselves into the spotlight over the last several years (Chief Keef, producer Young Chop, Lil’ Durk, and Lil’ Reese). Like the aforementioned rap stars, Juice WRLD rocketed to prominence in a very short time.
Even at the time of his death, Juice WRLD was scheduled to kick off his Death Race for Love music tour. According to his official website, Juice WRLD was already booked for performances in Los Angeles, California (December 14), Minneapolis, Minnesota (December 31), and Gulf Shores, Alabama (May 15, 2020).
According to Forbes Magazine, Juice WRLD had a whopping 25 songs debut on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart in a short, two-year time span. The rapper’s knack for style, the meticulously selected song samples incorporated into his tracks, and the fearlessness he embodied when taking creative risks were all a big part of Juice WRLD’s legacy.
In hip-hop’s ever-evolving world, it often seems like the ones with the real juice end up gone too soon. Now that the rapper born Jarad Higgins has moved on to the afterlife, observers of the musical league he debuted in have a new opportunity. Culture critics can see how other rap acts in Juice WRLD’s draft class will eventually add up in his absence.
It takes a WRLD of Juice (like the kind referenced in the late Tupac Shakur’s first movie in a starring role) to set the bar so unimaginably high in a short calendar year. But a 21-year-old just showed you that it can be done.
May he rest in peace.