In a 2018 interview with Sway on MTV’s TRL, Juice WRLD talked about the meaning of 999, a number constantly referenced in his music. The Chicago MC explained how as an inversion of 666 — the biblical mark of the beast — 999 represents taking the worst parts of life and turning them into something positive.
On December 8, 2019, Jarad Anthony Higgins, better known as Juice WRLD, died after an accidental overdose. He was 21. In an attempt to find a silver lining in this tragedy, Juice’s team dropped his first posthumous album on July 10 of this year. "Legends Never Die" is his legacy.
Juice WRLD found rest in the Garden of Eden, according to the album’s cover art. The art may represent what Juice WRLD's team believed to be his vision of heaven. In the center of the art piece, we see Juice WRLD donning a leather vest with the roman numerals of his death date sprawled across the shoulders. The art is a powerful commemoration of his life and untimely death.
The intro song, “Anxiety,” is a short lyrical commentary with Juice WRLD discussing his relationship with mental illness, addiction and the expectations of stardom. He accredits God multiple times throughout the track for his success in the midst of struggles, which foreshadows later tracks like “Righteous,” “Conversations” and “Fighting Demons.”
“... I love myself so much, as far as the way I make music, the way God made me, the way God wired me to do the things that I do, and to change the world the way that I can,” he says on “Anxiety.”
“Conversations” is the second track of the album, and one of the few tracks on the mix that has club potential — simply put, it’s a banger. The track embodies beats that have previously earned him a spot in the top hits — it’s catchy and memorable. He speaks about the fight against depression and suicidal thoughts due to mental illness and addictive vices. It’s about the voices in his head pointing out negativity and him refusing to listen.
The fourth track, “Bad Energy,” is a blatant look at how anxiety affects the comfort of everyday life. He laments sleepless nights and dreaming of death while also throwing in a verse on the monetary price of addiction, adding that he can’t function without a suppressant in his system.
“Righteous” is a tribute song to Juice WRLD’s life and ability to see the beauty of life in its present moment. The track is a main ingredient of the album. Originally released in April, “Righteous” gave fans a glimpse into what they could anticipate on “Legends Never Die.” Biblical references such as a comparison of himself to holy figures and what he expects to find in heaven build the song to reflect how he views his personal worthiness of success.
“The Man, The Myth, The Legend” is a listening necessity. The interlude track is a compilation of recordings from interviews with rap heavyweights, including Young Thug, Eminem and Travis Scott, speaking on Juice WRLD’s unparalleled freestyle skills. One of the recordings praises Juice WRLD for being the best freestyler of this generation.
The album is a show of vividly consuming lyrics and short, slam-poetry-like speeches about Juice WRLD’s life. It’s an album more likely to be listened to on a lone car ride than a Saturday night with friends. The album’s track beats are not entangled in originality, but the lyrics create substance. From an overnight Soundcloud sensation to a strong contender for the hip-hop throne, Juice WRLD ensures his legacy lives on with “Legends Never Die.”