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Rising Rapper Was Just 21
Bennett RaglinGetty Images
Rising hip-hop star Juice WRLD died Sunday at the age of 21. The New York Times reports that Illinois’ Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the death of the musician, whose real name was Jarad Higgins. Though his cause of death has not been announced, NBC News reports that authorities say he “suffered a medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway Airport early Sunday.
Higgins grew up in the Chicago area. He began posting music online while still in high school, and, in early 2018, signed a deal with Interscope Records worth a reported $3 million. Like many of his peers of the Soundcloud rap generation, his music was melodic and openly emotional. But Juice WRLD also possessed traditional hip-hop chops: A talented freestyler, he once rapped live for more than an hour during a radio appearance.
Juice WRLD’s breakthrough hits, “All Girls Are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams” were released in 2018, and the latter song peaked at number two on the Billboard charts, and was eventually certified six times platinum. He collaborated with artists including Lil Uzi Vert and Ellie Goulding, and released a mixtape with Future that included the song “Fine China” which peaked inside Billboard’s top thirty. His final single, “Bandit,” a collaboration with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, was released this fall, and hit number 10. Over the course of his short career, he made 25 appearances on the charts. And last year, he released an EP called Too Soon, which was dedicated to the memories of late rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion.
After the announcement of his death, friends and fellow musicians took to social media to memorialize the young artist. “This is insane,” wrote rapper Rich Brian on Twitter. “Rest in peace Juice Wrld. Way too young man.”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.