Juice WRLD’s journey to success has been quite an interesting one. At 19 years old, he popped into the scene with two billboard hits in “Lucid Dreams” and “All The Girls Are The Same.” From there, he dropped a solid project in “Goodbye & Good Riddance.” Each step of the way, Juice was a relative unknown, but the passion and emotion he plugged into his music made him one of those intriguing artists you wanted to know more about. If you fast forward to today, we’ve practically gotten a chance to hear the Chicago rapper on everything from joint albums with Future to pop remixes with Halsey in the last year. He’s made that next step to super stardom, which I predicted would have an impact on his music; would it be a positive impact or a negative impact, though? I guess we’ll find out with “Death Race For Love.”
“Maze” follows “Empty” in the track-listing, and appropriately, it picks up from where it left off content-wise. Thank GOD, because I needed that n***a to explain some of the crazy s**t he was saying on that song. Boasting this lonely yet uptempo instrumental, “Maze” has Juice WRLD explaining to the world where his mental is on a daily basis, and I hate to play spoiler, but he ain’t the most stable cookie in the cookie box. What you hear on this song is a dude that has lost it, which as a result, has him abusing drugs and falling into a dark place. Though it’s simple, I think “Maze” has one of the best hooks on this album. I love how Juice glides through it, allowing his emotions to take you on this roller-coaster ride that has more bumps than thrills.
5. MAKE BELIEVE
“Make Believe” is a form of emo music that is all over the place. First and foremost, the song is powered by this uptempo instrumental that gives off both exhilarating and numbing vibes. Over this instrumental, Juice WRLD goes belligerent, singing daringly about f**king up some chick’s world because he’s scared she’s trying to f**k up his.
Heartbreak can be brutal at times, so I truly f**k with the crazy approach Juice WRLD used to describe his bout with heartbreak. From start to to finish, he literally sounds bi-polar, bouncing between calm and boisterous throughout. It’s definitely intriguing to listen to.
4. 10 FEET
“10 FEET” is fantastic! On it, you get this raw version of Juice WRLD that is intent on acknowledging the good, bad and ugly in his life. With the song boasting this emotional instrumental (At least initially. Towards the end, it turns into some intoxicated s**t), Juice raps tough, relentlessly bombarding his way to the finish-line.
“10 Feet” features Juice’s best rapping performance to-date. His punchlines, word-play and confidence are all top notch on it.
3. FLAWS & SINS
“Flaws & Sins” is Juice WRLD’s most dynamic effort on this album. On it, he spits gritty bars, but he also makes sure to plug in some infectious melodies and daring harmonizing into the equation, too. Juice also incorporates lyrics revolving around positive s**t for one of the only times on this project, embracing his scars and taking chances at seeing some light in a room full of darkness.
Strangely, I like how erratic this song sounds, as Juice bounces between explosive, country and ruthless vibes throughout. But let’s be real, the bass boomin’/alternative-sounding instrumental that powers “Flaws & Sins” is the best thing about it.
This can easily end up Juice’s version of Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Life.”
I like “Empty” a lot! On it, Juice WRLD talks about all the demons he battles on a daily basis using this melodic approach that is as infectious as it is engaging. He also gives off this miserable sound vocally, practically coming across like he’s being stabbed while he’s singing. Yes, this may seem brutal, but everyone knows Juice is a better artist when he’s miserable.
I think this song sets the tone for the entire album nicely.
1. HEAR ME CALLING
“Hear Me Calling” is the second single to this album, and on it, Juice WRLD was able to create this pop banger that has him singing, rapping, pleading, whining, complaining, hyperventilating and gagging about this woman he loves. The beat he chose to do all these things over is a pretty unique one, as it boasts pop dance-hall vibes. You would think Juice WRLD and pop dance-hall vibes would go together like Jolloff rice and coconut milk (Which don’t go together), but this time around, It works!
On this album, is there a better hook, melody and vibe combination than the ones you hear on “Hear Me Calling?” If you say yes, I’m suing you.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. EMPTY (5/5)
2. MAZE (4.5/5)
3. HEMOTIONS (3/5)
4. DEMONZ (5/5)
5. FAST (3/5)
6. HEAR ME CALLING (5/5)
7. BIG (3/5)
8. ROBBERY (3/5)
9. FLAWS AND SINS (5/5)
10. FEELING (3.5/5)
11. SYPHILLIS (2/5)
12. WHO SHOT CUPID (2.5/5)
13. RING RING (2.5/5)
14. DESIRE (2.5/5)
15. OUT OF MY WAY (2.5/5)
16. THE BEES KNEES (3/5)
17. ON GOD (4.5/5)
18. 10 FEET (3.5/5)
19. WON’T LET GO (3/5)
20. SHE’S THE ONE (3/5)
21. RIDER (4/5)
22. MAKE BELIEVE (4.5/5)
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT “DEATH RACE FOR LOVE”
- Within the last year, Juice WRLD has proven that he is capable of spitting some serious bars, but let’s be real, he sounds better when he’s on his suicidal crooner s**t. When he’s utilizing that sound, he brings out great melodies, hooks and riveting lyrical content. With that being said, how can we make sure this dude never has another good day in his life?
- Let me elaborate more on the first paragraph: Us as an audience love to hear the dark side of entertainer’s lives, and there is none darker than Juice WRLD’s. On this album, dude legit sounds depressed, mentioning lost love, the abuse of drugs and how fame hasn’t translated to happiness. Though there were glimmers of positivity on some songs, for the most part, Juice came across as troubled. For whatever reason, we love to hear a musician in such a fragile frame of mind.
- Juice WRLD was a Swiss Army knife when it came to styles of music on this album. Not only did you get emo music from him, but you also got top 40, rock and legit rap s**t, too. I was presently surprised by dude’s versatility throughout, especially when it came to his comfort-level in each genre.
- Brent Faiyaz was excellent in “Demonz!” Though his lyrics are just as somber as Juice’s throughout this album, I thought the vibes attached to his song was captivating.
- “Hear Me Calling” is a legit hit! Matter of fact, I’m prepared to say this is Juice’s best song to-date. In my opinion, it deserves to be a radio hit that skyrockets to the top of the billboard charts.
- Juice WRLD’s rock star voice is real. When I hear him sing on certain songs, he legit sounds like a scoundrel that is apart of a garage band that eats ham sandwiches during their music breaks and writes lyrics in a composition book with 55 different stickers on the front cover it.
- I thought it was pretty interesting that Juice sacrificed quality for raw emotion at times on this album. I mean, there is literally times in which he screeches his way to the finish line. To me, that’s pretty brave.
- I loved that this album only had one real feature (Young Thug). Disturbances to Juice WRLD’s rhythm would’ve been counterproductive. BTW, I f**k with “On GOD.”
- I know this is kind-of random, but I don’t think Kid Cudi gets enough credit for the impact he had on the rap game. He made it cool to be this depressed/emo hip-hop act that sings daringly in his music (Which Juice WRLD does throughout this album). In my opinion, Cudi’s influence has been bigger than any other musician in the last 20 years.
WHAT I HATE ABOUT “DEATH RACE FOR LOVE”
- I’m all for a hip-hop artist crossing genres, but what I don’t respect is when they make watered down s**t. For the most part, I thought Juice avoided doing this on “Death Race For Love,” but there were some songs that sounded bogus, to me (i.e. “Fast,” “Ring, Ring” and “Who Shot Cupid” ). On some real s**t, you could’ve plugged anybody into those songs and it would’ve sounded the exact same.
- I wasn’t really feeling Juice’s hardcore rapping on this album (Besides his effort on “10 Feet”). I get it, Juice WRLD can morph into 23 Savage when he needs to, but when he does, he sounds like everyone else in the game.
- Close your ears on this one Juice WRLD fans: I still think Juice sounds like Lil Uzi Vert. They have similar cadences, singing styles and voices, to me. I believe Uzi is a better artist than him, but Juice has more commercial appeal than Uzi.
- XXXTENTACION, is that you on “SYPHILLIS?” All jokes aside, I like that X’s style is starting to be appreciated, but come on Juice, you can’t practically steal his whole persona.
- “Who Shot Cupid” is a very boring song. I thought Juice sounded dull on it, and his lyrics came across as very lazy. Actually, there were a lot of songs on this album that had this same weak ass formula.
- THIS ALBUM IS WAY TOO LONG! For various reasons, I thought Juice should’ve kept “Death Race For Love” short: For starters, I’m not trying to hear a dude whine for a full hour. N***as got their own problems to worry about in life, mane.
This album is entertaining, it’s explosive and it’s dynamic, but that’s only if you are a fan of emo music. If you are not, you will think it is weird, poorly constructed and all over the place. Whatever the case may be, I enjoyed it, but on some real s**t, I’m about to ask dude to come to church with me this Sunday; that n***a’s mental is suffering worse than Kyrie Irving’s.
Categories: Hip Hop