Chicago rapper Juice Wrld dropped his second studio album Death Race for Love seemingly out of the blue, with little to no promotion. The album has an extensive track list, with twenty two songs total, and a small selection of features which include Young Thug. The up and coming artist gained mainstream recognition after his release of the song “Lucid Dreams” that peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. There was slight controversy over the song after a sample of Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” was used which lead to 85% of the songs rights going to Sting. Die hard Juice Wrld fans felt as if this was wrong as the money was taken well after the song gained its success. Despite this loss, the confident rapper shook it off and kept moving forward. For most of 2019 , Juice Wrld remained relatively silent up until the unanticipated announcement of his new album. He posted a message on Twitter letting fans know the release date and broke his silence over questionable mental health leading up to his tour.
“I’m losing my mind and loving every minute of it… Just in time for the drop of the album… MARCH 8th…”
Death Race for Love debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with album sales of over 150,000 copies in the first week. This is the first No. 1 album for the young artist and it is expected to have significant longevity of sales in the coming weeks according to his label, Interscope. His previous album Goodbye and Good Riddance and collaborative mixtape with Future, Wrld on Drugs, were both substantial projects that brought attention to the rising artist. Death Race for Love received mostly positive reception from fans and critics alike with Rolling Stone saying “Death Race for Love succeeded in its most fundamental mission, which was to prove that “Lucid Dreams” was not a fluke. Songs like “Fast”, “Ring”, “Hear Me Calling” strike a dynamic balance of raw charisma and profound anxiety.”
Juice Wrld became the current poster child for emo rap overnight and since then announced his embarkment on a European tour alongside Nicki Minaj. This is a major look for the gifted artist as his major label sign with Interscope records and now a notable co-headline on a European tour. The “emo-trap-rap” genre of music is expanding rapidly and could possibly be the next big phase in Hip Hop. Many other hot new rappers such as Trippie Redd and Lil Xan are following this trend.
Death Race for Love is a sizable project with very little features which is similar to other recent releases from rappers such as Gunna. Juice Wrld is attempting to slightly isolate himself in order to discover and develop his own unique sound. Similar to many other new artists, Juice Wrld doesn’t want to be known for featuring on the work of others and instead would much rather focus on his own creations. He is lyrically underated with a diverse flow and consistently original lyrics. A lot of Juice Wrld’s singing and lyrics go between being slightly corny and basic to very emotionally rich. Many forget his insane freestyle ability with multiple videos online of the rapper spitting bars for hours at a time. As one of the more subtle rappers in the game, it is apparent that Juice Wrld is spending his time well and investing in his musical craft. His lyrical content stays relatively consistent with his other projects as the emo rapper’s classic emotions show and his drug and heartbreak induced trauma is expressed in his music. With a smaller and lesser known group of producers including Andrew Watt and Louis Bell, Juice Wrld still brings a plethora of diverse and high quality sounds to the album. Guitar and synth samples are particularly present on this album and add a spice to the project that was needed.
Overall, Juice Wrld put forward remarkable effort to please his fans and further establish himself as a righteous artist in the music industry. His new album success and and promising tour is setting the budding artist in the right direction for a prosperous career. Death Race for Love proves his ability to create consistent and quality music for his growing fanbase.