There is perhaps no other artist who made such a profound impact on the decade in such a short span of time.
Juice WRLD, who began his rise to prominence in early 2018, became a cultural phenomenon within months of momentum. His unique concoction of 2000s-inspired emo, punk, and alternative mixed with today's elements of trap and pop made for a formula that enamored listeners from the jump.
He only needed less than two years to prove himself as one of music's most influential new artists.
By the time of his tragic passing, Juice WRLD had become the de-facto leader of rap's new school. It's safe to say that he shifted the sound and style of the genre beyond the confines that once surrounded it, moving rap music into the new-age while paying homage to past legends.
"We’re moving into a new era of music. I feel like it’s not necessarily a good thing to forget where shit started, but shit is changing.” -Juice WRLD
Juice's early influences are indicative of the sound that he crafted - Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Billy Idol, Escape the Fate, Black Sabbath, and Megadeth were Juice's favorite bands growing up. These rock influences truly shaped Juice, as he was only allowed to listen to rock as a child. Once he discovered hip-hop, he began to take inspiration from artists such as Kanye West, Chief Keef, Travis Scott, Tupac, Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan, Gucci Mane, Future, Lil Wayne, and Kid Cudi. These are some of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time, illuminating both Juice's affinity for the old school and creativity towards building the new school. Juice especially took influence from Kanye's genre-bending 808s and Heartbreak, citing "Street Lights" as his favorite song in an interview with All Def Music.
When describing Kanye and his 2008 masterpiece 808's and Heartbreak, Juice had the following to say:
"Kanye is a time traveler. That n***a went to damn near 2015 and came back with some sauce."
As we reflect on the past decade and look towards the next, it seems as if Juice WRLD embodied his adage about Kanye in his own right. Considering the sonic trends currently taking over the world of "SoundCloud rap", it seems as if Juice WRLD was a time traveler who came to 2018 with the sounds of 2020 and beyond. Juice WRLD took his OG influences and artfully blended them into his own sauce, concocting a sound and style that the world had never truly received before Jarad Higgins.
Jarad Higgins, born December 2, 1998 in Chicago, deserved far more than just 21 years on this earth. Those who had the privilege of crossing paths with Juice seemingly have nothing negative to say about him - his friends and family paint him as someone who gave them the chance to live life to the fullest; his collaborators paint him as a talented, contagious energy with a big heart; his fans paint him as a passionate performer who spread inspiration and led the way through tough times.
In only a two-year span, Juice WRLD gave the world many moments that will keep his memory alive. In my humble opinion, here are some of his most showcasing:
Juice could freestyle like an OG, sing like an emo Michael Jackson, and converse like someone wise beyond his years. You can tell that Juice truly had a vision for his legacy and for the world. It's mind-boggling and depressing to conceptualize how much more he could've gone on to accomplish throughout his career, but his energy will live on.
The Burbs team extends our deepest condolences to Jarad Higgins' loved ones, associates, and supporters.
Rest easy young legend.