Ayeeeee! Shoutout to my boy Juice Wrld! Check out an excerpt of his cover story in the March issue of Billboard below and click HERE to read more.
Juice’s mother didn’t let him listen to hip-hop, but his older cousins introduced him to Cam’ron, Jeezy, classic Lil Wayne. “They put me on to Cassidy, one of the best battle rappers to do it; Meek Mill, when he had the braids,” he says. “They gave me substance.” He formed a group called Team Imperial with his neighbors. Juice, by far the youngest member, impressed the older kids with his freestyles. He hasn’t lost that talent: I watch him casually improvise for 15 minutes over a beat one of his houseguests has just made in the living room. It’s the best genuine freestyle I’ve heard in ages, though Juice laughs it off like it’s child’s play.
Back then, Juice had a crush on a girl named Destiny who got him into screamo — bands like Blessthefall, Black Veil Brides, Escape the Fate. Meanwhile, he was playing a lot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on PlayStation, and the game’s expertly curated soundtrack introduced him to classic punk bands. He became enamored of both Future and Odd Future, the latter by accident. “I asked somebody, ‘You know who Future is? He’s really hard.’ They said, ‘You mean Odd Future?’ So I listened to Odd Future and was like, ‘Whoa, this is not what I was talking about.’ Then I started drawing ‘OFWGKTA’ all over my skateboard.” When fellow Chicagoan Chief Keef’s “Bang” dropped in 2011, 12-year-old Juice’s mind was blown: “It was something that nobody had ever heard before.”
— billboard (@billboard) March 7, 2019