It’s easy to judge a drug addict if you’ve never lived in the lifestyle of distorted reality. This confusion often can spiral into unimaginable self harm. I know because I myself have been there and still fight a daily battle against addiction. Jarad A. Higgins A.K.A. Juice WRLD’s death hit me extra hard not because I’m an enormous fan of his music and not because I empathize with addicts but because now as I listen to his songs I am realizing that his music was a giant cry for help. It’s almost as if I feel responsible because my consumption and fandom fed into this glamorization of drug culture. Look at the lyrics for the song Legends, where he outlines his fate a year before his death.
“What’s the 27 Club?We ain’t making it past 21I been going through paranoiaSo I always gotta keep a gunDamn, that’s the world we live in nowYeah, hold on, just hear me outThey tell me I’ma be a legendI don’t want that title now‘Cause all the legends seem to die outWhat the fuck is this ’bout?”
From what the reports say Juice died trying to protect himself from repercussions of drug possession at the Chicago airport by consuming all of his contraband in an attempt to hide it. Would he have made this erratic decision if he hadn’t spent years eroding at his reality with consistent narcotics use? This decision to swallow his percocet to hide from the F.B.I. was ultimately his last. The Hip- Hop world is truly heartbroken because frankly not to many young artists had the raw talent and work ethic that he possessed. Joyner Lucas’s tweet that has now gone viral points the finger of blame right back at its source, an industry that glorifies drug use and idolizes them when they’re already dead.
Though many industry people have sent their condolences what is the next step to try and stop this from happening to next young promising artist? I think this tweet calling out the problem at its root is a good start but not enough, there needs to be a continuous discussion on addiction and depression. We need to educate, learn, and be better; now is the time to change. I don’t want to beat this thing into the ground because none of my points will bring him back but the least I can do is make sure it is known that addiction to hard drugs can take control of you as well as everything you love. You can make decisions that can have repreccussion that’ll affect you permanently. Your rational can’t comprehend correctly and you can be more likely to do dumb shit when you are under the influence. Your addiction can destroy your family, friendship, and any sense of self worth that you have. For me there was a point where I would rather die than get better, when you get to that point you start pushing your use harder and all of it begins to spiral downward.
I feel that juice got to this point. The point of no return.
It reflects in his lyrics and he doesn’t ever try to hide it. The least I can do is offer his family and real friends my deepest condolences. His life mattered to a lot of people, the same way our lives matter to our loved ones on a smaller scale. Some of these tracks ironically helped me during my first year of sobriety. For me this had to do with his emotional honesty only addicts can understand. His lyrics took me back to those times where I was too deep. It motivated me to stay out of it. I think the best way to end this article would to leave what his Mother Carmella Wallace said on the state of the drug epidemic in this country.
“As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency. Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it. Jarad was a son, brother, grandson, friend and so much more to so many people who wanted more than anything to see him defeat addiction.”“We hope the conversations he started in his music and his legacy will help others win their battles as that is what he wanted more than anything,” she concluded. “We know that Jarad’s legacy of love, joy and emotional honesty will live on.”
If you have never heard his music here are 16 of my favorite songs of his in no particular order.