Juice WRLD was one of the leading voices of the emo rap scene and had one of the biggest career blow-ups in recent memory. In the span of less than five years, he went from a SoundCloud rapper to an artist with a diamond-certified single and a huge fanbase.
Unfortunately, his potential career would be cut short due to a drug overdose in 2019, leaving millions of fans clamoring for more. In this article, we’ll reveal some of the most interesting facts about the late rapper and dive into his career in more detail.
Juice WRLD Only Released Two Studio Albums During His Life
Juice WRLD started his career as an independent artist in 2015, eventually signing a recording contract with Grade A Productions and Interscope Records in 2017. Much of his early work can be found on SoundCloud.
His single Lucid Dreams would become a diamond-certified single and make it to number two on the Hot 100. It had a huge impact on his debut album Goodbye And Good Riddance, helping push it to triple-platinum status in 2018.
Other singles from the album to make it onto the Hot 100 included All Girls Are The Same, Lean Wit Me, Armed And Dangerous, and Wasted. That same year, he would collaborate with Future on a mixtape titled WRLD On Drugs.
In 2019, he released his second album Death Race For Love, becoming his first album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200. The biggest hit single from the album ended up being Robbery, a song that made it to number 27 on the Hot 100 and has over one billion streams on Spotify.
Though he would pass in 2019, two posthumous albums would be released. The first came in 2020 and was titled Legends Never Die. It ended up tying the chart records for most successful posthumous debut and most US top-10 entries from one album.
His second posthumous album, Fighting Demons, was released in 2021. It served alongside the documentary film Juice WRLD: Into The Abyss and the single Already Dead was another US top-20 hit.
He Was One of the Leaders of Emo Rap
Emo rap isn’t exactly a style that everyone knows about, but it’s been steadily rising in popularity since it first popped up. Juice WRLD was one of the pioneers of the genre, bringing it to new heights and helping introduce it to thousands of new young fans. Alongside Lil Peep and XXXTentacion, he was one of the biggest names in the genre.
His Mother Banned Rap and Hip Hop From His Childhood Home
At the age of three, Juice WRLD’s parents got divorced. His mother was reportedly very strict and religious. She ended up banning hip hop and rap music in her household because she was afraid of the influence it would have on a then-young rapper, preferring gospel music.
According to Juice WRLD in an interview with Complex, “My mom was real conservative, on some old hardcore Christian.” His cousins were the ones who introduced him to the rap world, letting him listen to names like Gucci Mane, Chief Keef, and Young Jeezy.
Juice WRLD Was Discovered On SoundCloud
Juice WRLD started off as an independent artist, uploading most of his songs to SoundCloud. His first track, Forever, was recorded on his cell phone and then released on the platform. That was his only SoundCloud upload to be featured on his 2015 mixtape What Is Love. SoundCloud is a haven for all kinds of artists, but it’s especially popular in the mumble and emo rap communities. It was first released when he was a sophomore in high school, produced under the name JuiceTheKidd.
A Short Career Netted Him Several Accolades
While he only released two studio albums during his lifetime, Juice WRLD was still able to win several different awards. It was a sign of an incredibly promising career that was tragically cut short.
In 2018, Billboard named him their top new R&B/Hip-Hop artist, and he followed that up with the Top New Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards in 2019. Several other nominations for awards would be given to him, including one for the BET Award for Best New Hip-Hop Artist.
He Was a Huge Fan of Video Games
Video games are pretty much mainstream now, with billions of people logging in to play them every day. Juice WRLD was no exception, and his love of video games started early. He was first exposed to the emo music scene thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 in 2001. He learned the keyboard chords of the emo and punk songs in the game from YouTube tutorials, and they would forever have an influence on his music.
His Rap Name Was Inspired by Tupac Shakur
Juice WRLD was a big fan of old-school West Coast hip hop and an even bigger fan of the iconic Tupac Shakur. He ended up picking his name thanks to 2Pac’s performance in the 1992 drama and crime movie titled Juice.
His Biggest Musical Influences Are (Probably) Some Of Your Favorite Rappers
Aside from Tupac Shakur being an idol for Juice WRLD, several other notable rappers are on his list of biggest influences. Chief among them is the legendary lyricist Eminem, who has said that Juice WRLD’s potential was so off the charts.
According to rumors, Eminem is actually Juice WRLD’s favorite rapper. He’s even given him a shout-out several times, and you can hear the influence of Slim Shady’s beats in Juice WRLD’s songs. He also mimicked the themes of Eminem’s tracks, making fun of pop culture and being open about his battle with addiction.
Hip Hop Wasn’t The Only Style of Music He Loved
Juice WRLD loved hip hop once he was introduced to the genre, but it wasn’t the only kind of music that he took inspiration from. Emo and rock music were huge for him, with some of his favorite bands including Blink-182 and Billy Idol. His love of the soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Underground was a big influence on his blend of musical tastes, and the lasting effect they had on his work is undeniable.
Juice WRLD Once Freestyled for Over an Hour
Speaking of Eminem in an earlier section, Juice WRLD actually used Slim Shady’s beats and shouted him out on a freestyle that lasted over an hour. He went to Tim Westwood’s studio in Capital Xtra in 2018, spending over an hour freestyling over classic Eminem instrumentations. The selection included hits like The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady, Lose Yourself, One Shot 2 Shot, and Shook Ones. Regardless of who the rapper is, this was an incredible feat.
He Wasn’t Just A Rapper, He Was a Musician
Everyone knows Juice WRLD as a rapper, but his musical talent extended beyond his lyrical skills. He was a multi-talented musician and played several different instruments that he was either professionally taught to play or taught himself how to play. This included instruments like the trumpet, guitar, piano, and drums.
Lucid Dreams Was A Big Hit, But It Didn’t Take Him Long to Produce
The biggest hit of Juice WRLD’s career and one of the biggest singles of all time was Lucid Dreams. He spends the song exploring the mental struggle that follows a tough breakup. Apparently, the track took a total of 45 minutes to put together once samples were chosen, with him coming up with all of the lyrics in around 15 minutes. That’s a quarter-hour well spent if you ask me.
He Sampled A Lot For Lucid Dreams
Speaking of the samples chosen for Lucid Dreams, a lot—and I mean a lot—of the music in the song was samples from other tracks. It was one of the reasons why it took so little time to put the song together in all likelihood. However, this came with a set of problems.
The biggest sample used for the track came from Sting’s 1993 hit Shape Of My Heart. Allegedly, Sting sued Juice WRLD for sampling the song, and he lost around 85% of the money he would have made on the diamond-certified single because of it.
In an interview with The Vulture, he said Sting publicly stated that the track was a beautiful interpretation of the song. After Juice WRLD’s death, Sting cleared the air about the lawsuit and gave his blessing for the sample to be included in the track.
Juice WRLD “Predicted” His Own Death
It was controversial when he did it, but a tweet from Juice WRLD in 2017 said this:
“My goal is to get overly famous, shine for a couple years..then fake my death(coffin emoji)”
At the time, it meant very little. Plenty of people have dreamed of growing up to have enough money for eternity and then dipping out of the public spotlight. But his eventual early death, in light of this tweet, led many to believe he was actually faking his death.
Conspiracies Abound Surrounding His Death
His tweet about faking his death didn’t help anything when it came to conspiracy theories, but it didn’t provide all the potential details that led some to believe there was something a little off about his death.
In his song All Girls Are the Same, Juice WRLD states “I’m a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon.”
John Lennon was the frontman of The Beatles, and his death occurred on December 8, 1980. Juice WRLD also ended up passing on December 8, 2019, leading many to believe he had faked his own death and modeled his disappearance after the late Lennon, with the lyrics of that track providing all the evidence needed to make that assumption.
It’s important here to get rid of those rumors by telling the story of the rapper’s very real death.
On December 8, 2019, Juice WRLD was on a private jet flying from Los Angeles to Chicago. Chicago law enforcement was waiting for the plane at the airport, suspecting the plane was carrying illegal drugs and weapons. His management team told the press later that he had ingested multiple unknown pills while the police were searching the aircraft in an attempt to hide them.
The police found 70 pounds of marijuana on the plane but nothing else was listed. The rapper began seizing and convulsing, eventually being transported to the hospital where he passed. The medical examiner initially listed the cause of death as unknown, but in 2020, a different examiner determined the cause to be an overdose of oxycodone and codeine.
Juice WRLD’s passing is sad enough without conspiracy theorists trying to say he faked it, so laying out the story here is, in my mind, a necessary evil.
Juice WRLD Was Open About Addictions and Mental Health Problems
Juice WRLD dealt with a lot of mental health issues and addictions throughout his life. It was apparent from his music that he was struggling, which was one of the reasons why he turned into a star. A lot of people could relate to the messages he was putting out and the feelings he put into his songs.
He Was An Artist Outside of Music Too
Juice WRLD was an artist outside of music. Since his passing, T-shirts and sweatshirts have been created with his artwork to help keep the memory alive and commemorate the work he did. Those are still available on Amazon for fans to purchase.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.