When the news of Juice WRLD’s death emerged, many felt in their gut that devastating pang of communal loss: The Community of Hip-Hop aches with bereavement. Reminiscent of 95-97 and tragic deaths of Hip-Hop affiliates Aaliyah, Left Eye and Amy Winehouse, there is something oh so sad about the snuffing out of a promising life. Yes… we are grieving heavy.
However, there is something even more disturbing about this most recent death of Juice WRLD. As news starts to trickle in, the devastation of his alleged overdose is made even more intense after reports from the FEDS have him downing whatever illegal substance that he was in possession to avoid a possible bust. He wanted to live.
They all do.
And immediately, the WebSphere started to connect Juice and XXXtentacion as twin spirits, both dying early in their careers and early in their precious life. It makes sense since the two actually recorded together.
But the comparison would be ill-directed. X was murdered. Juice essentially killed himself.
It sounds hard, but perhaps his death started way before this weekend. Perhaps, his death started the moment that fame afforded him the wherewithal to have access to unlimited amounts of drugs. And with those drugs that he had at his disposal, the lack of discipline to not indulge in such massive amounts.
Ironically, the overdose allegedly was not a recreational consumption, but a result of him trying to get rid of the evidence pointing to him and his camp having the illegal substances. His barely-old-enough-self had no clue what he was doing.
So… why Mac Miller?
Mac Miller, also gifted and a thoughtful artist, also had the resource to have instant access to drugs on an unconscionable level. Even if for a moment, had the opportunity for either of them to win is heartbreaking. Neither he or Mac Miller who died last year could master the high the way they had mastered their careers.
Soaring careers. Hey Hip-Hop… were we more interested in his career than his well-being?
Check out this interview where he addresses his drug use and his relationship with Mac Miller’s artistry. One of the things that he says is that the only thing that fans could do (referring to his passing), was “learn from it” and that he did not want to end up in the “same situation.” He shares in a pensive convo on Miller, “Who wants to have another causality?” He is right. No one does or did.
But these two are not the only ones. Sadly, there are more.
As a culture, we have the unique opportunity not to save the next generation while working to break the cycle of addiction that ravishes our young minds. Drugs are bad… we know this… but what Mac Miller and Juice WRLD both had in common is that they knew that drugs were bad, but opted to take them on as unbelievable myth. But there is no mythology for the high. There is no mythology for the very real pain most of these boys would have experienced.
All we can do is pray that this is the last one… not that their lyrics change, but that their lifestyles advance.