Juice WRLD, the epitome of the success and the fragility of the rap SoundCloud

Juice WRLD, incarnation du succès et de la fragilité du rap SoundCloud

Juice WRLD, which was pierced with the success of “Lucid Dreams” stayed last year for months in the top 10 of the magazine “Billboard”, died prematurely on Sunday, at the age of 21 years.

December 10, 2019 20h43


Juice WRLD, the epitome of the success and the fragility of the rap SoundCloud

Maggy Donaldson

Agence France-Presse


NEW YORK — The death-surprise of the young rapper Juice WRLD Sunday has highlighted the successes, as well as the fragility of growing “rap SoundCloud”, a sub-genre sounds gross exploding in recent years.

This movement owes its name to the streaming platform, SoundCloud, based in Berlin. Founded in 2007, it intends to promote the discovery of new artists, by removing the barriers and allowing everyone to make his sounds.

SoundCloud has long been the land of the adventures of the rap, where aspiring musicians were on-line music that is often more messy, emotionally more fragile, and to promote it to an audience accustomed to digital tools and social networks.

The aesthetics of the movement fostered its “virality” on the Net : rappers with the neon colors and the facial tattoos individual contributed to a wide diffusion on Instagram.

A new crop of rappers cultivated a sound that is deliberately artisanal, where they talked willingly passages of depression and the drugs taken to alleviate their pain.

“Neutralizes the pain, take these “Perc” by the mouth and by the nose”, hummed Juice WRLD in his song HeMotions, on his album Death Race for Love (2019).

The artists did not hesitate to mention their use of the painkiller Percocet, the antidepressant Xanax, and a drink nicknamed” purple drank, a mixture of cough syrup — containing codeine, a painkiller opiate that is addictive — soda water and sometimes alcohol.

Faster, more raw

In recent years, with the rise of the podcast, which enabled them to bypass the traditional powers of the world of music, the rappers SoundCloud, in spite of their energy disordered, have become more popular, and a issue of rivalry growing for labels looking for the latest popular artist.

The hyperactive Lil Pump has as well signed, according to the american media, a contract of $ 8 million, and XXXTentacion, who died in June 2018, was sealed shortly before his death a contract of $10 million.

SoundCloud has also become a haven for DJs. And it is on this platform that Billie Eilish, 17 years old and named six times for the Grammy awards which will be awarded at the end of January, has seen its first successes.

But the rap dominates the music industry, and accounted for about a quarter of the songs listened to on demand by 2018, according to the company analysis of the market for music BuzzAngle.

Rappers “as a group, make music on what goes on today, and make it available,” says Larry Miller, director of the program of study on the music industry at the University of New York.

“They grabbed the tools to do the music for nothing or for cheap, and to distribute it free of charge, more quickly and in greater numbers than other genres of music.”

“They simply put their works into the public domain, and they do it quickly,” he says.

“All the emotions”

But if the move appeared to be in full outbreak, it now seems close to implosion.

Many of his figures lives are chaotic, sometimes undermined by the crime.

XXXTentacion, revealed by the success of macabre Look At Me!, was murdered at the age of 20 years. He already had a criminal record, including a conviction for kidnapping and domestic violence for hitting his pregnant girlfriend.

And another rapper, Tekashi69, who ran a big risk of having been convicted of extortion and other counts related to firearms, has agreed to be a witness for the prosecution in the trial of alleged members of his former gang.

Others have succumbed to the demons evoked in their music : the death of Juice WRLD followed a Lil Peep, a rapper sometimes known as “the Kurt Cobain of SoundCloud”, died of an overdose of fentanyl and Xanax in 2017.

Juice WRLD, which was pierced with the success of Lucid Dreams stayed last year for months in the top 10 of the magazine Billboard, was deemed to evoke themes such as death and sadness, mixing rhythms, menacing and melodies tender.

“I have the impression that people are not afraid to touch all of their emotions”, said recently the rapper to the public radio, NPR, in an interview released after his death. “I have the impression that some of these people are more mature than in the past, because they speak of what they have gone through. Of everything, not just the violence.”

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