Juice WRLD is back yet again with another single despite the fact that he’s been dead since 2019. I’m always so conflicted about this. On one hand, it’s great that Juice’s fans still get to feel like their favorite artist is active despite losing him almost 5 years ago. On the other hand, something just doesn’t feel right about a label milking a dead artist to the point that they’re releasing more music from the grave than André 3000.
Of course you knew, I had to come back from the grave myself to review this new Em joint. We know his verse was recorded at least within a year because he references events that happened in January of 2023. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Juice’s music despite him being an absolute monster when it comes to freestyling. The kid was a genius. I just wish he’d brought that flavor over to his albums. Like when he worked with Eminem on “Godzilla,” I like him in small doses. He’s fine as a hook with maybe the odd bridge, but I can’t take much more than that. It’s just that ear-piercing autotune and those melodramatic flows that every trapper seems to love. This track is kind of an anomaly to that rule though do to the nature of Eminem’s guest verse.
Eminem’s verse is one of the most focused guest spots in a song I’ve heard from him in a long time. The subject is so personal to him that I guess it would come naturally. He had a near-death experience himself back in 2007. Since then, he’s shown signs of survivor’s guilt when reacting to other rappers who’ve also overdosed the same way he did but didn’t survive. You hear that all over this verse as well. Eminem is sympathising with the new generation of rappers here. He starts off by walking us through how easy it can be to get hooked on drugs and how it feels to become dependent on them: “You pop some ecstasy first, it gets progressively worse
Try your best to reverse unsuccessfully flirtin’ with certain death… as you spiral downward, listen, I know just how it is.” I’m definitely getting some dad rap vibes here, but in a good way. It’s really smart of Eminem to try to relate to the new school kids like this. Who knows? Maybe the right person will hear this and he’ll save a life. This doesn’t feel like just any Eminem verse that he wrote and sent off to fill a standard 16 bar spot to promote someone’s album. He feels genuinely driven by emotion, like he’s actually writing with a purpose.
What I love about Eminem’s music, is the fact that he can be pouring his heart and soul into a track, but he’ll rarely forget he’s also a lyricist. The multi-syllable rhymes and creative word play that comes out of this man’s pen will never fail to impress me. Yeah, you’ll get the odd dad joke here and there: “Like a rabbit out a hat, you’ll wanna pull your hair out“… but for every bar like this you’ll get something deserving of a stank-face level chef’s kiss.
Near the halfway point, Eminem’s tone naturally starts to steer towards anger from sadness. When he starts referencing Juice directly by his first name, you can hear the frustration in his voice. Something about Juice passing in particular, hurt Eminem: “You tried to kill me, then you murdered Jared didn’t you? You piece of s–t“. From here, Eminem runs down a list of names of other celebrities that’ve lost their lives to drugs, strengthening his warning. That’s right folks, Eminem just dissed drugs. He finishes his verse by just asking the new generation to be careful when experimenting with substances. I think he knows it would be hypocritical for him to tell anyone not to do drugs, and I think he knows he can’t stop anyone from doing what they’re going to do. He just comes off like the cool dad that knows you’re going to experiment, but just asks that you do so responsibly.
Overall, I’m really happy with this track. I’ve seen so many rappers throw a phoned-in, generic verses into posthumous albums. Eminem took the time to really put the thought, time and attention into the track. He made sure speak from his own experiences with addiction, which helps give off a true sense of sincerity.
Rest in Piece Juice WRLD.