Since the terrible and untimely death of young rapper Juice WRLD, fans around the globe have missed his authentic, emo-rap sound. The chart-topping rapper suffered from an accidental overdose in December 2019, six days after his 21st birthday. His posthumous album, “Legends Never Die,” dropped in July and features artists like Marshmello, Halsey, Trippie Redd and Polo G. Though each track is diverse and features his trademark catchy, lo-fi sound, there are common themes throughout his album: struggling with mental illness, navigating relationships and dealing with substance abuse. The hour-long album gives fans an in-depth look at Juice WRLD’s life and reminds listeners of another star lost too soon.
“Legends Never Die” comes almost seven months after Juice WRLD, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, passed away after suffering from a seizure in the Midway International Airport in Chicago. According to TMZ, when the rapper landed, he overdosed on oxycodone and codeine after finding out that police were waiting to search his luggage. Juice WRLD’s girlfriend, Ally Lotti, accompanied him at the time of the accident. His producers and girlfriend delivered his fans the promise of unreleased music with this latest album.
The original title for the album was “The Outsiders,” however, the eventual title “Legends Never Die” is a much more fitting name for the 21-track collection. While Juice WRLD only recently became famous, his legacy is undeniable. From his first hits released in 2018, “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are the Same,” fans have fallen in love with his attractive beats, unique voice and lyrics laden with the relatable issues of addiction and heartbreak.
Throughout the posthumous album, Juice WRLD discusses his battle with substance abuse, particularly in songs like “Bad Energy” and “Stay High.” In “Bad Energy” Juice WRLD raps, “Swallow all these pills with my pride / married to my high.” Similarly, in the chorus of “Stay High” the late rapper sings, “Too low in my life so I gotta stay high.” Juice WRLD had previously admitted in interviews that he struggled with addiction to Xanax, Percocet, codeine and oxycodone. Though overcoming addiction was a constant obstacle for Juice WRLD, his outlook on life remained positive. His mother, girlfriend and fans were always supportive of his journey toward sobriety.
Juice WRLD and his girlfriend, Lotti, were together from November 2018 until his death. A short scroll through either one of their Instagram feeds makes it apparent how in love and inseparable they were. Heartbreak and love are two other common themes that pervade “Legends Never Die” especially in “Life’s a Mess” and “Tell Me U Luv Me.” The song “Life’s a Mess” features singer Halsey and begins with Juice WRLD asking, “Have you ever fallen head over heels for somebody?” Though this lyric seems cliché, the song ultimately shows how having someone to confide in and come home to can help an individual deal with the difficult moments in life.
“Tell Me U Luv Me” features Trippie Redd, a rap artist with whom Juice WRLD frequently collaborated in the past. The song’s chorus sung by Trippie Redd is a catchy melody, “Tell me you love me / Tell me everything gon’ be okay.” The track highlights the healing nature of being with a significant other.
In recent tweets from Lotti, she announces that there will be more unreleased music from Juice in the future. Lotti also discusses the turmoil she continues to undergo since Juice WRLD’s passing. Though her grieving has taken a toll on her mental and physical health, she says she will continue to stay strong for her late boyfriend.
Mental illness is another motif throughout “Legends Never Die.” In the intro, “Anxiety,” Juice WRLD expresses how music is a sense of comfort for him and he encourages others to keep dreaming and chasing their goals. The song “Fighting Demons” also demonstrates how struggling with depression and PTSD is hard, and the most important thing to do is find happiness in each day.
Despite Juice WRLD’s battle with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, the rapper remained positive when talking to his fans, and the album is littered with his words of inspiration. The song “Get Through It (Interlude)” is a 20-second clip from Juice WRLD reminding his fans to stay strong and continue fighting their battles.
“The Man, The Myth, The Legend” is the most heartwarming song on the album. The second interlude includes multiple rap artists with whom Juice worked and admired. Artists like Young Thug, J. Cole, Eminem and G Herbo applaud Juice WRLD for his rising career and effortless freestyle flow. The compilation is a sincere tribute to the legacy that Juice WRLD left behind.
This album has achieved feats beyond measure for the artist. When “Legends Never Die” first dropped on streaming platforms in the early morning of July 10, Juice WRLD’s Spotify page crashed because so many people were streaming the album. As of late July, the record has nearly half a million sales. “Legends Never Die” is currently the No. 1 album in the United States. The late rapper has also earned an achievement that only Drake and The Beatles have accomplished: five of the songs from the album placed on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.
“Legends Never Die” is commendable for its variety of genres and guest artists. From “Come and Go,” an EDM-rock ballad featuring Marshmello, to a more pop-music flow on “Life’s a Mess” with Halsey, the diverse nature of his album makes it an easy and compelling listen. The emotional and heartfelt lyrics make each of the songs feel like personal reminders of the beloved artist. The final song, “Juice WRLD Speaks from Heaven,” is a chilling clip from an Instagram story in 2019 in which Juice WRLD said, “…I’m on Instagram Live from heaven.” The outro is a beautiful and touching ending to his first posthumous album and left me with tears in my eyes the first time I heard it.
Whether you listen to the album in order or skip to the songs that are more popular, listening to “Legends Never Die” is sure to leave any Juice WRLD fan reminded of his legacy and looking forward to more unreleased music.