Around this time last year, Juice WRLD started to break out as one of the stars of tomorrow. The Chicago rapper burst onto the scene with “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same,” unveiling creative videos directed by Cole Bennett, which helped him get where he wanted to be. Now, Juice is considered one of the most talented young melodists around.
If you’ve been a fan of Juice WRLD all along, you’re likely familiar with all of the songs on this list. Of course, some of the obvious picks will be included here. For instance, nearly every song from Goodbye & Good Riddance could have easily made the cut. However, in an effort to keep this list as brief as possible while detailing Juice WRLD’s evolution as an artist, we’re keeping this at thirteen songs.
The rapper’s first upload on SoundCloud was made three years ago, confirming that his musical ascent has happened pretty quickly. From his beginnings as a SoundCloud rapper to his now-worldwide fame, here are a few essential tracks to bump if you’re trying to understand the hype behind Juice WRLD.
“Bullet For My Valentine”
This song remains unreleased but it’s one of the better displays of Juice WRLD’s gift with melody. It’s unclear whether or not the artist plans to ever release “Bullet For My Valentine” but it’s one of the songs you must check out to fully understand Juice’s ability. Named after the rock band, this signals the beginning of his rise to the top of the “emo-rap” ranks.
Much of the Chicago vocalist’s lyrical schemes can be predictable. It’s almost a given that when you listen to Juice WRLD, you’ll hear stories about drugs, heartbreak, and depression. These days, Juice WRLD is one of the most popular artists in the world and he would surely like to consider himself a rockstar. But what happened when he met a girl (possibly in his dreams) that was an even bigger rockstar than him? “ROCKSTAR GIRL” will give you the answer.
“Playing Games (I’m Not Playing Fair)”
Much of what’s interesting about this infectious track has to do with the vocal mix. Juice WRLD has drawn comparisons to Post Malone in terms of his musical style but the two also use very similar mixing techniques. Usually, Juice WRLD vocals will be layered with several different melodies piled up on top of the last. “Playing Games” is a perfect example of his auto-tuned voice being manipulated to create a few different sides to listen to simultaneously. This was clearly a successful era for Juice, considering the last two songs come from around the same time.
“Autograph (On My Line)”
Personally, I think that “Autograph” might be one of the better songs that Juice WRLD has ever released. Obviously, the track didn’t have the same reach as “Lucid Dreams” but there is so much to like about this one. The pre-chorus and hook utilize the perfect flows for the instrumental and, as always, his melodies are on point. This is one of the oldest songs on this list but Juice was feeling it so much that he decided to re-release it last year, uploading it to his YouTube channel.
This is the second unreleased song to make it onto our list of essential tracks. It’s clear that Juice WRLD is sitting on a lot of heat, as the “Cigarettes” freestyle is a favorite among his diehard fans. The Chicagoan raps over a simple guitar loop, referencing his constant loneliness, addiction, and love.
“All Girls Are The Same”
We’re officially jumping into Goodbye & Good Riddance territory. This was the first time a Juice WRLD track graced the pages of HNHH as the video for “All Girls Are The Same” proved to be a star-making moment for the young talent. Seemingly days after the Cole Bennett flick dropped, Juice had signed a major label deal and people were starting to take notice. The song and video are equally childish. Juice takes on the role of a hurt young boy, ruined by all of his romantic connections with girls in the past. This is one of the most popular songs he’s ever released but it’s also one of the best.
This list is seriously incomplete without “Lucid Dreams.” This particular song has basically spent the last year on the Billboard Hot 100, offering Juice the room to mold himself into a full-fledged superstar. His work with melodies and flows here is nearly impeccable. Nick Mira’s production is hypnotic and the Chicago rapper truly made a bold introduction to the game with this song. We won’t spend too much time here. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already heard “Lucid Dreams” a million times.
It almost feels like “Candles” is a sleeper pick but once you listen to this a few times, you’ll find yourself humming it as you’re going about your regular tasks. Some of the content is worrisome (“You can’t kill me if I kill you first”) but the hook is undeniably memorable. This is one of the cuts from Goodbye & Good Riddance that will stick around for years.
Previously known as “Sticks and Stones,” “Hurt Me” is a favorite for a few reasons. Juice WRLD reworks a classic children’s nursery rhyme to craft this impassioned hit, which has proven to work for many artists. At times, Juice sounds like he’s dead on the inside, which somehow seems to mirror the topics that he speaks of. For that reason, this is one of the better vocal performances on this list.
“Rich And Blind”
Alas, we’re moving away from Goodbye & Good Riddance for a moment. “Rich And Blind” was released as a two-pack with “Legends” after Juice felt a need to drop an homage to his fallen peer XXXTentacion. In the track, the artist explores a different side of heartbreak than the one we’ve become used to from him. He makes reference to the late Florida rapper in addition to Lil Peep, noting that he doesn’t really know where his own path will lead if he continues making the same life decisions.
“Lean Wit Me”
This is one of the realest songs in Juice WRLD’s arsenal. The singer reflects on his drug addiction, putting himself back in a space where he believed he going through an overdose. In the music video, he tells the story even more effectively, noting that the darkness may actually be where he belongs. He recreates a 911 call where he notifies the dispatcher that his girlfriend has stopped breathing after overdosing. This one is dark and authentic as hell.
“Black And White”
Why did nobody think of this hook before Juice? “I’m in my black Benz/ Doing cocaine with my black friends” meshed with “Switch up to the white Benz/ Doing codeine with my white friends” is just so damn clever and catchy. The message behind the song is questionable but you can’t deny that this is one of the moments that proved his worth as a songwriter in this industry.
“Jet Lag” (with Future & Young Scooter)
This is one of the newest songs on the list and it also may be the most unpopular pick. While WRLD On Drugs arguably does not display the best of Juice WRLD’s abilities as a musician, “Jet Lag” is a highlight on the tracklist. The album’s opener is incredibly hype and while much of that has to do with the ferocity of the beat, the Chicago crooner’s hook and verse are worth mentioning here. Also, Future’s random “skrrt skrrt” sequence is pretty amazing in itself.