Juice WRLD’s first posthumous album ‘Legends Never Die’ has already racked up millions of streams and has gone to number one in multiple countries – including the UK. Packed with raw emotion, ‘Legends Never Die’ is a fittingly tragic departure album from the late-rapper and contains some of his best music to date; showcasing how much he had left to give the world, while also helping fans reach closure over his sudden, untimely death.
While getting off to a rocky start with second and third tracks ‘Conversations’ and ‘Titanic’, Juice WRLD quickly comes into his own on this album. In ‘Righteous’, the album’s fifth track and first single, Juice demonstrates an acute awareness of his own mortality (“We may die this evening / coughing and wheezing, bleeding”) and he addresses many of the demons that haunted him throughout his short life – such as drug addiction and anxiety.
Many of the album’s songs take on new and enhanced meanings because of Juice WRLD’s death – adding to the sense of tragedy that lingers throughout this album. ‘Blood On My Jeans’ and ‘Get Through It’ are especially tragic now, given that they deal with Juice ‘breaking up’ with Codeine and having “the strength to get through” what life has thrown at him. These songs show that despite being aware that he could die young, Juice did ultimately have hope for a life better and longer than his.
However, other lyrics seem remarkably prescient – to the extent that it’s almost hard to imagine that Juice actually wrote them before he died. In ‘Fighting Demons’, he once again sings of the possibility of an untimely death (“In fear of me dying today”), while ‘Wishing Well’ – the closest this album comes to a cry for help – sees the deceased rapper sing “If it wasn’t for the pills, I wouldn’t be here / But if I keep taking these pills, I won’t be here”.
Meanwhile, ‘Can’t Die’ – which explores Juice WRLD’s own experience of grieving, does a pretty exquisite job at putting into words how many fans feel about Juice’s own death (“Every day it feels like someone new dies, hope the news is a lie”, “way too many people missing from the picture”).
Where this album really shines, however, is not in the parts where Juice focuses on himself, but when he displays his empathy and love for his fans and for the people closest to him. The spoken word introduction to this album sees Juice say to fans “you can do anything you put your mind to, period” and “always remember that, I love every single last one of y’all”. Out of most people’s mouths, these words would sound cliched and trite, but there’s something about the way Juice says them that makes them come alive – as if every word is packed with meaning and emotion and hope.
Just as the album begins on an empathetic note, so does it end in a similar way. While Juice begins ‘Man of the Year’ singing about his own problems (“Man of the year, still got problems”), the song focuses mainly on his own impact on others – particularly on fans with mental health struggles who have been helped by his music (“I know my lyrics saved you”). In this sense, ‘Man of the year’ is about the best closer this album could’ve hoped for – reminding us that while Juice WRLD may not still be alive, his music lives on, and because of that there are a lot of people who are still here, who may not be otherwise.