Juice WRLD, a former SoundCloud standout, delivered his most recent album that is filled to the brim with substance abuse references and questionable melodies.
The Burbs team came together to answer some questions about the current status of the 20 year old's place in the hip-hop industry and what they would like to see from him moving forward.
1.) Who is Juice WRLD in 2019?
Ralph James: Juice WRLD is like a shitty substitute for Lil Peep. He fills that void of part-rock, part-pop, and part-hip-hop from a sonic standpoint, but he also has the ability to spit bars for days as his freestyle on Tim WestwoodTV suggests. Juice is just... underwhelming.
Jack Martin: A rising star. I haven't gotten super into Juice WRLD just because I can't really get on-board with his content all the time, but people love him. Maybe a Post Malone-type year is coming for him?
Evan Linden: In 2019, Juice is the leader of an exponentially growing new wave of rap - alternative & punk inspired sadboy music. Juice wasn't necessarily the first to do it; Uzi, Peep and Tracy really blazed the trail for him. However, Juice was the wave's first overnight star. Thanks to Cole Bennett, Juice literally blew up overnight. Juice also really brought the sound to the mainstream, "making it cool". He has definitely inspired all of the DIY artists creating a similar sound, and for better or worse (probably worse), the wave is growing exponentially.
Ryan Dobbs: In 2019, I hope to see Juice develop his talents more. Because if I am being completely honest, the new album left me completely underwhelmed, as I was only impressed with 4-5 tracks. I know the potential to be versatile is there, he just needs to show it.
Hunter McNeeley: In 2019 Juice Wrld is someone who is going to be incredibly popular but is going to sacrifice his potential cause the music he makes is going to be targeted to the biggest audience and he won't experiment.
Carter Ferryman: Based on my first (and only listen) through on this new project, probably forgotten.
2.) Will Juice ever reach his full potential? To put this question into better perspective, let me ask it another way, can he ever take that next step into becoming an A-List rapper? Will one project do that or is it a matter of evolution over time?
Ralph James: If his full potential is to evolve from Future's padawan to an apprentice, then I'm not sure if he'll ever be able to graduate to that level. If his full potential is whoever was singing on "All Girls Are The Same," then I'm afraid he'll never be able to surpass that.
Jack Martin: I think the "I'm sad and can't stop taking prescription drugs" schtick can only take you so far. Juice WRLD is obviously super popular right now and his rise to fame has been pretty quick, but can he sustain it? I feel like he has to lighten up a bit to really enter the superstar stratosphere.
Evan Linden: I believe that Juice will reach his full potential and continue to evolve. However, that's only if he takes some time to reinvent himself and his creative process. His sound was unique a year ago, but it's already becoming stale. Fast. If he puts out another project that sounds anything like Deathrace for Love, his career will be in shambles. While he's hit a bit of a sophomore slump, I think he still has a chance for a strong comeback if he takes some time off and brings something fresh to the table next time.
Hunter McNeeley: Honestly I truly don't think he will, I really don't think he will ever have the appeal of a Travis Scott or Drake.
Carter Ferryman: Can industry plants exceed their potential? Seriously though, do we see Juice Wrld shocking critics and listeners with a DS2 or Rodeo-esque release? These are both rhetorical questions.
3.) Do you think that Juice WRLD takes as many drugs as his music suggests he does? Or is this kind of like a Nav situation all over again?
Ralph James: I mean, probably not. I don't think any rapper is as dedicated to prescription drugs as their music suggests. But if anyone were to live up to their lyrical content, I'd bet on the $uicideboy$ or Young Thug before anyone else. Maybe Juicy J too, I don't know.
Jack Martin: No way you can down lean all day and get yourself in the studio, on radio shows, or on stage. Is it cool to take prescription drugs in 2019? When I heard the line "I problem solve with Styrofoam" on "Empty", I looked over at Ralph and said something like "Jesus," with a startled look. More pot, less promethazine.
Evan Linden: After seeing Juice in concert, I can confirm that he's at least on drugs to some degree. While the sheer amount that his music suggests is probably cap, I wouldn't imagine that he's stone-cold sober very often.
Hunter McNeeley: I think this man's stomach is doing front flips at all times, no doubt.
Carter Ferryman: Juice doesn't burn.
4.) Why do 20+ track albums still exist?
Ralph James: Because everybody wants to be Drake without admitting that they want to be Drake.
Jack Martin: I have no clue, I'm sick and tired of it. I want to listen to an album in a sitting, not break it up into chapters. I get that streaming has changed the way artists, especially rappers, release music, but what about a few shorter, masterful projects spaced out throughout the year instead of Drug Addiction Anthems Volumes 1, 2, and 3.
Evan Linden: Because labels fucking suck. More songs, more streams, more $$$. They could care less about how painful the listening experience is as long as its lining their pockets. Even if it's at the expense of the artist's reputation.
Hunter McNeeley: Same reason I ate 60 McNuggets when someone dared me to, so I could say I did it.
Carter Ferryman: When it comes to artists like Drake or Future, I know i'm in the Burbs minority when I said I disliked both of their newest projects. That being said, both artists have done so much for the industry that it's difficult for me to resent the move - they're securing the bag and I can pick out songs from each that I love. HOWEVER, when you're cramming 20+ tracks (75% of which are filler) and it's your 2nd studio project (looking at Juice Wrld), you really are showing your fans and critics how seriously you take the quality control of your work - you don't.
5.) Who exactly is Juice's target audience? There can't be THAT many drug addict sad boys out there keeping him more than relevant.
Ralph James: Do high school girls like Juice WRLD? I feel like high school girls really fuck with Juice WRLD.
Jack Martin: ^lol, high school girls definitely love him.
Evan Linden: Juice WRLD's target audience is definitely people who are toxic in relationships. People who ruin their relationships and then play victim. People who post black-screen stories airing out all of their business. Also, he definitely has a lock on the guys who spend more on upgrading their shitty Civic than the car is worth. There's also a pretty good chance that they deliver pizzas with that Civic and hotbox while doing so.
Hunter McNeeley: Me in 2006
Carter Ferryman: Juice Wrld makes music for girls who smoke hookah on snapchat with the dog filter and feed their kids Hot Cheetos for breakfast. Juice Wrld makes music for guys who think wearing VLONE and Fear of God Vans is a personality trait.
6.) What's your tweet length review of this album?
Ralph James: Why didn't I see this coming?
Jack Martin: What I expected #HardenForMVP
Evan Linden: Hour and 15 Minutes of Mid
Hunter McNeeley: #percocet
7.) What's your favorite song on this album? What's your favorite Juice WRLD song out of his entire discography? And how does this album compare to his other two projects?
Ralph James: My favorite song on this album is probably "Big," because I think the track is a demonstration of who Juice WRLD could be if he committed to this style. Still, I don't think any track of his will ever surpass the sheer emotion I felt when I heard, "All Girls Are The Same," for the first time. Also, I don't think Juice will ever top WRLD on Drugs, which isn't saying much because that album has some critical misses on it. I really only listen to it for the Hendrix.
Jack Martin: I liked "ON GOD" featuring Young Thug a lot. They go really well together, and the way their able to trade bars (or melodies) just works. In terms of my favorite song out of his discography, I'm gonna have to agree with Ralph. "All Girls Are The Same" packs sheer emotion and sadness, and the beat and flow of the whole track just hits. When stacked up against his other projects, I'm kind of getting a Gunna vibe. It was honestly just more of the same to me.
Evan Linden: My favorite track on this album is "Fast". I know it's a bit poppy, but it's smooth and catchy. It's almost a feel-good song, which I never thought we'd hear from Juice. My favorite song from Juice's discography would either be "All Girls Are The Same" or "Rich and Blind". Compared to Goodbye and Good Riddance & WRLD on Drugs, Deathrace for Love falls miles short. Juice needs a miracle to be able to top Goodbye and Good Riddance.
Carter Ferryman: "Lean Wit Me" is a really smooth hit from Juice. When he reverbs/pitches his vocals on the hook, it's a euphoric moment every time I listen. Goodbye and Good Riddance is a formidable debut project, WRLD on Drugs and Deathrace for Love are pretty garbage in their own ways. Like Steven A. Smith would say - FUTURE, STAY OFF THE COLLABS.
8.) What would you like to see out of the Blonde Dreadlocked Emo Singer moving forward?
Ralph James: More tracks like "Big". That is all that I ask from you, Jared Higgins---- wait, what? Juice WRLD's real name is Jared Higgins? Jesus Christ, that has to be the nerdiest name ever for a hip-hop artist. It's no wonder why he's always so sad. His name is fucking JARED HIGGINS.
Jack Martin: Something that doesn't make me feel horribly depressed when I listen to it. I like his sound a fair amount of the time, but I can't just run through his tracks. WRLD on Drugs was obviously very drug-focused lyrics wise, but it didn't make me sad. So I guess a happier WRLD on Drugs? I don't know.
Evan Linden: Personally, I've always been enamored by the rock influence in rap. When done right, it can be a very beautiful fusion. I would definitely enjoy some Juice music that is more rock-focused; something unique and not concerned with mainstream appeal. What I really want from Juice is for him to branch out sonically and wow us again; I know he has the potential to. I truly believe his next project is going to make or break his career, so he better make it count. I have partial faith in him, but regardless, I'm excited to see what he does next.
Hunter McNeeley: Truly Juice has the chance to be one of the most influential artists of our generation but if he keeps going the I want to get the most streams route over, I want to buckle down and make experimental and influential music, then nothing.
Carter Ferryman: Features. That's literally all I want from him.