Is JuiceWRLD’s Music Racing To Its Death?
By Edward Kasule
JuiceWRLD’s hit single “Lucid Dreams” debuted at #72 on the Billboard charts, and peaked at #2. The 19 year old artist from Chicago’s rock-influenced sound had the whole world “seeing shadows in [their] room[s].” JuiceWRLD combined two things that you wouldn't think go together; rock melodies and modern 80s, to create a new subgenre of hip-hop. He might be one of the quickest artists to blow up in hip-hop history.
His last project, a collaborative mixtape with Future called “WRLD on Drugs,” came out in 2018. It was stacked with features, including Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, Gunna, Yung Bans, and Young Scooter. The mixtape was a surprise, because the veteran Future wasn’t expected to work with the young JuiceWRLD. Some of my favorite tracks from the project are “Jet Lag,” “Astronauts,” “Red Bentley,” “7 AM Freestyle,” “Different,” “Shorty,” “No Issue,” “Transformer,” and “Ain’t Living Right.” I was slightly excited for his new project.
On March 8, 2019, JuiceWRLD’s latest offering, “Death Race For Love,” was released. Its features included Brent Faiyaz, Rvssian, Clever, and Young Thug. At first glance, it looked decent. Before delving into the first song, I noticed the title, “Empty.” Using my hip-hop intuition, I concluded the song would probably be in JuiceWRLD’s usual “emo-rap” style. The next few tracks, “Maze” “HeMotions” “Demonz” “Fast” and “Big” all mostly followed this formula, where JuiceWRLD expressed the heartbreak and negative emotions he feels. Then, there is a brief change of mood with the track “Big.” Around this point, the album’s mood switches up slightly, and becomes more upbeat. I thought that the songs would continue to be more versatile, but instead JuiceWRLD stuck with the same sounds from earlier in the album, which was quite disappointing.
JuiceWRLD’s sophomore album had a lot of potential. He was coming off of the release of a strong mixtape with Future, who cosigned him. The album had interesting features, and the direction seemed to be something different than his usual style. Unfortunately, though, the project fell short of my expectations, and this album raced pretty quickly to its death.