Rapper Juice WRLD dies aged 21

The Chicago rapper was taken ill at the city’s Midway airport on Sunday morning local time

The Chicago rapper Juice WRLD has died age 21, Illinois’ Cook County medical examiner’s office has confirmed.

After landing at Chicago’s Midway airport on Sunday morning local time, the musician, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, suffered a seizure and began bleeding from the mouth, TMZ reports.

He was conscious when taken to hospital, but died a short time later. The cause of death is not yet known.

Distinguished by a sound that combined emo and trap, Juice WRLD broke out in 2018 with the single Lucid Dreams. The song sampled Shape of My Heart by Sting, who called it a “beautiful interpretation”. It peaked at No 2 on the US Billboard singles chart – the first of 25 hits featuring the rapper to make the chart in the space of two years.

He signed to Interscope after a remix of his song All Girls Are the Same became popular. His second solo album, this year’s Death Race for Love, topped the US albums chart.

Watch the video for Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD.

A frequent and ambitious collaborator with artists including rappers Travis Scott and Future, pop star Ellie Goulding, K-pop band BTS and emo band Panic! at the Disco, Juice WRLD was known for his prolific output. He was expected to release a new mixtape with rapper Ski Mask the Slump God this year. “I probably have over a thousand songs,” he said last month.

He was candid about his experiences of depression on social media and in his vulnerable lyrics, joining a wave of young rappers including Lil Uzi Vert and Trippie Redd who countered rap’s trademark machismo.

“That’s what makes you a real man, though,” he told NME this year. “You not running from how you feel? That’s what makes you one of the realest people to walk this Earth. People usually look down upon that – they say you soft.”

The late rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion were also notable for this style: following their respective deaths in November 2017 and June 2018, Juice WRLD released a two-track tribute EP, Too Soon.

Fellow rappers paid tribute on Twitter, including Not3s who wrote: “R.I.P Juice Wrld, real talent”, and Rich Brian, who tweeted: “This is insane. Rest in peace Juice Wrld. Way too young mannn.”

Lil Nas X tweeted:

rip juice. so sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists. 🖤

— nope (@LilNasX) December 8, 2019

Higgins was born in Chicago on 2 December 1998. His religious mother forbade him from listening to rap music. He discovered the pop-punk and emo bands who would influence his sound via video games. He started posting tracks to SoundCloud during high school, and decided not to go to college in favour of pursuing a career in music.

He spoke candidly about his experiences with drugs, including lean (cough syrup and soda), Percocet and Xanax. “[Drugs] can ruin your whole life,” he told NME. “If they don’t kill you, they can leave you in a trance for the rest of your life. Most fucking rappers rap about getting high and feeling great. But I talk about the good side and the bad side. Just to shed some light on the negative side.”

In 2018, he was said to have minimised his drug use. “More recently, I’ve just kind of realised certain things about myself and my coming up, the way that substances played a part in my life, whether it was me doing them or other people,” he told Vulture. “It’s something that I’m trying to separate myself from.”


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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