Juice WRLD began posting songs online that he had recorded directly onto his cellphone while in high school in 2015. But it was his debut EP, “9 9 9,” that caught the attention of labels after its release in June 2017. After “All Girls Are the Same,” his breakout breakup song — “All this jealousy and agony that I sit in/I’m a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon” — took off on SoundCloud, he was signed to Interscope Records at age 19.
From there, his profile rose quickly with the success of “Lucid Dreams,” another belted, distressed lullaby, built around an interpolation of the pillowy guitar in Sting’s 1993 hit “Shape of My Heart.” (Sting, who owned the majority of the royalties for the Juice WRLD song, called it a “beautiful interpretation that is faithful to the original song’s form,” while also joking that it would put his grandchildren through college.)
“Lucid Dreams” went on to hit No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart, anointing Juice WRLD as one of the few SoundCloud rappers to break through to the pop mainstream.
His first album, “Goodbye & Good Riddance,” was released in 2018 and eventually certified platinum; its follow-up, “Death Race for Love,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March. In between, he released “Wrld on Drugs,” a collaborative mixtape with the rapper Future, a stylistic forebear who seemed glad to pass the torch.
Juice WRLD frequently touched on themes of mental health, suffering and mortality in his music.
In June 2018, following the deaths of two of his musical contemporaries, XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, he released a two-track EP online titled “Too Soon,” including the song “Legends,” in which he sang, “They tell me I’ma be a legend/I don’t want that title now/‘Cause all the legends seem to die out.”