As fans of the rapper Juice Wrld mourn his death, many are praising the 21-year-old for his brutally honest lyrics about struggles with mental health and drug use — including some who said the rapper’s lyrics saved their lives.
The Chicago rapper suffered a seizure at Chicago’s Midway airport on Sunday, with TMZ reporting that he collapsed while walking through the airport after getting off a plane from California. The report noted that the rapper, whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins, was still conscious when rushed to a hospital, but died a short time later.
After the news broke, many fans took to social media to praise Juice Wrld for his openness about struggles with mental health. The rapper frequently pushed back against what he saw as an unnecessarily harsh music industry, where open displays of emotion are often shunned, especially in the rap industry and even more so among men. In an interview with NME, Juice Wrld said there was dignity in a man being able to openly show his emotions.
“It’s ones of the toughest things in the world,” he said.
Juice Wrld’s lyrics were often introspective, with the rapper saying he was influenced heavily by artists like Kurt Cobain who were willing to fully open up for their fans. For Juice Wrld, that meant giving the good with the bad.
“The people I looked up to put their demons out there,” Juice said of the Nirvana frontman. “They provided a path for me to walk on.”
His lyrics frequently spoke about his past struggles with drugs. In the opening track “Empty” from his breakout album Death Race For Love, Juice Wrld rapped about how his pursuit of drugs left him with turmoil.
“I don’t know how to feel / Swallowing all these pills,” he rapped.
The rapper, who told The New York Times that he used Xanax heavily in high school but worked hard to cut back his drug use, said he wanted to show his fans the side of drugs that rappers often don’t mention.
“[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 f*cking 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.”
That went for mental health as well. When he was 19, Juice Wrld rapped in the song “Fast” about how he expected fame to change his outlook but found that it did not.
“I go through so much, I’m 19 years old… But it’s okay ’cause I’m rich/ Psych, I’m still sad as a b*tch, right.”
After Juice Wrld’s death, many fans took to social media to praise his openness about these issues, saying it helped them through difficult times in their own lives.
Waking up to reports of another fallen legend. Juice Wrld inspired so many people to be open about their depression in hopes of finding happiness. He brought people together & genuinely saved lives. 1 of my favorite artists man Rip to a legend. We love you & we will miss you???? pic.twitter.com/uIzxGHvrvZ— 7ru7h???? (@7RU7H_) December 8, 2019
Hip hop loses another trailblazer, and the world loses another bright young soul struggling with his mental health. My heart is so heavy right now, RIP Juice WRLD— God Samaritan (@TheGodSamaritan) December 8, 2019
Juice Wrld is one of my favorite artists since his songs have meaningful lyrics about mental health. We lost a young talented rapper out there. Rest in paradise ????????— LOVER OUT NOW (@blckpnkswft) December 8, 2019
juice wrld’s death makes me sad for all the black kids that turned to him/his music for the emotional support and validation that they can’t find regarding mental health/emotions elsewhere— ???????????? ???????????????????????? (@johntitorluvr) December 8, 2019
Juice Wrld’s cause of death has not yet been announced.