“What’s The 27 Club?”

Juice WRLD's death opens up a conversation about the addiction and violence that plagues today's youth.

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On Sunday, Dec. 8, Juice WRLD, aka Jarad Higgins, died of a seizure from alleged Percocet overdose in an airport in Chicago. Supposedly, he did this to avoid a drug bust from the Feds who were awaiting his arrival. When I woke up on Sunday to hear the news, my heart sank. Juice Wrld was one of my favorite artists and the third SoundCloud rap breakout artist to fall before even turning 21.

Lil Peep, another one of my favorite artists, died of a Fentanyl mixed drug overdose back in 2017 and XXXTentacion followed in 2018, shot dead.

These were the decades with the most promising breakout artists. A new era of music where young adults could make music in their bedroom and perform in arenas within a year. Yet, drug addiction and violence have taken out these artists before they have even gotten the chance to reach their full potential.

Rap legend and angel, Mac Miller, died in 2018 of an accidental drug overdose, also involving Fentanyl-laced drugs. His career was also cut off far too soon by the demon of addiction.

Juice WRLD’s music spoke to me and many others. His cathartic singing and emo punk rock fusion with rap was something I found so refreshing. His lyrics were so relatable.

I remember seeing him at the Rolling Loud music festival this October. My sister was hesitant about coming to his set with me because her friend lost her phone, but I grabbed her arm and said: “I’m never going to see him again we need to see him.” I can’t even believe those words came out of my mouth. That was one of his last performances and I saw him, alive. He was amazing. Everything I could’ve ever imagined. Just seeing him felt surreal.

In June, his breakout hit, “Lucid Dreams” was built on a sample of Sting’s “Shape of My Heart.” It reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for months. His debut album, Death Race For Love, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 in March.

His joint album with Future was also charted and is highly reclaimed for his engineering work. At 20-years-old, Juice WRLD was doing what so many could only dream of. His mixing, lyrical ability, freestyles, and voice were so unique. Who knows what else he could have done with just a few more years.

My favorite songs on his breakout album, “Flaws and Sins,” “Empty,” and “Robbery” have helped me get through some tough times. Just hearing his voice made me, and I’m sure many others, feel not so alone. He was a voice for so many young kids. Speaking on addiction, depression, and love.

After Peep and X passed, Juice WRLD ironically paid tribute to the pioneers of SoundCloud with the song “Legends.”

He sang,

“What’s the 27 Club?
We ain’t making it past 21
I been going through paranoia
So I always gotta keep a gun
Damn, that’s the world we live in now
Yeah, hold on, just hear me out
They tell me I’ma be a legend
I don’t want that title now
‘Cause all the legends seem to die out
What the fuck is this ’bout?”

Thinking about this song just gives me chills because of its accuracy. These are artists I hold so dear. I have so many good and bad memories connected to them. I can’t even imagine one day telling my kids about the music I used to listen to and having to explain how I lived to see them all die one by one due to violence and drugs.

Unfortunately, that’s the world now. Juice WRLD constantly spoke about drug addiction and depression, yet had so many enablers around him.

We live in a new generation where opioid addiction is skyrocketing at an alarming rate. According to the CDC, in 2017, the number of overdoses involving opioids was six times higher than in 1999. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. From 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving opioids, including prescription and illicit opioids.

Gun violence is another dark killer of today’s youth. According to NPR, the United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

It is truly a sad world. Every other day a kid in the Bronx is shot or overdosing on drugs.

I get sick just thinking about that. We constantly turn a blind eye to addiction and mental health because it seems like everyone is “depressed. No one does anything about it.

You could tell Juice WRLD was such a kind and genuine soul who had to constantly battle so many demons from the inside because of depression.

His girlfriend, Alyssa Smith, revealed to the public, “Even when he had every reason to be happy, he still wasn’t and that’s obvious mental illness. If you have family, a girlfriend, money, the job you want and you’re still unhappy at that point, your brain isn’t working properly and you need professional help.”

Ski Mask and Trippie Redd, two other artists who emerged from SoundCloud, now have to mourn the death of another one of their close friends.

I feel especially bad for Ski. He was close to Lil Peep, then had to mourn his death. He got closer to X, then mourned his death. Then he rebuilt musically with Juice WRLD only to be left alone once again.

“They Keep Taking My Brothers From Me Bruhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

“BRUH AT THIS FUCKING POINT TAKE ME TOO,” he tweeted.

These are the consequences of doing drugs. You leave the people who loved you most, and it hurts more than ever. It is time to change this sad pattern by making better decisions and holding your loved ones accountable before it is way too late.

RIP Peep, X, and Mac you all will always remain alive in my playlists.

RIP Juice WRLD and thank you for all the music that has helped me smile when I didn’t think I had it in me.