NEW ARTIST: JUICE WRLD
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Juice WRLD?
Is it a group of people skinnier than yourself and with better skin complexions? Is it a mall food court kiosk that will be replaced with a Haagen Dazs in 3-6 months?
Or is it a 19 year old SoundCloud rapper who just signed a 3 Million dollar deal with Interscope Records?
It’s the last one, you guys. And if a 19 year old willfully going by the name Juice WRLD and becoming an overnight millionaire because of a website doesn’t turn you into a reactionary, nothing will.
Regardless of what he calls himself, a rose by any other name, etc., Jarad Higgins is an immense talent worthy of headlines that have nothing to do with his pockets.
JUICE WRLD - ALL GIRLS ARE THE SAME
Born and raised in the Chicago neighborhood of Calumet Park, Higgins has been involved with music from a very young age. Classically trained on piano and stealthily bumping Gucci and Wayne behind his conservative mother’s back since his age hit double-digits, Juice WRLD has been immersed in music for so long his age starts to become irrelevant.
His debut LP, Goodbye & Good Riddance, is a pop-leaning tour de force that seems expertly crafted for this moment in history.
JUICE WRLD - HURT ME
In his tedious and overstuffed (yet still very useful) book How Music Works, David Byrne explained that musicians and songwriters internalize the domains and spaces in which there music will be listened to and end up writing songs that will fit best within that foundation. This is why hymns written to be played in medieval cathedrals have long, drawn out organ arrangements: It's what sounds best for the acoustics of the building.
Repeated listens to Goodbye & Good Riddance, and to a lesser extent his mixtape JuiceWRLD 9 9 9, it seems like Higgins has made the perfect album to listen to on headphones in your room while texting and browsing social media. (I assume that’s what the teens are doing these days, cuz it’s also what the adults are doing these days.)
JUICE WRLD - WASTED (FEAT. LIL UZI VERT)
So what exactly is Juice WRLD talking about in his music? Well being a teenager is very different nowadays and…
Just kidding, it’s about doing drugs, feeling alienated and like no one “gets” you, doing more drugs and getting fucked up with friends, longing for romantic intimacy but fearful of being hurt, and other such pubescent classics. The more things change, the more youth is still about a mixture of absurd confidence, crushing insecurity, and a general cluelessness about what to expect or do with your life.
Juice WRLD’s music perfectly captures all of this and wraps it up in a nice, concise, catchy as fuck box. There are heavy shades of ilovemakonnen in his sound (For older readers: That means he sounds like Biz Markie if Biz had come up when Drake was the biggest rapper in the world). Given his origins, comparisons to Lil Uzi Vert and Post Malone are inevitable.
Ultimately though, dude is his own person. And while there are bits of familiarity in his songs, his sound is distinctly his own.
Where he takes it from here is going to be fun to watch.
JUICE WRLD - SCARED OF LOVE
Calvin Paradise is not any one thing. The half-hearted vagabond and forgetful luddite currently resides in Los Angeles and how he spends his time is none of your damned business.