Juice WRLD’s second posthumous album, Fighting Demons, is set to release on December 10th, 2021. The announcement was originally made by his mother, Carmella Wallace, and Grade A Productions, and was later confirmed on his Instagram. Juice’s team built anticipation for the project with singles “Already Dead” and “Wandered To LA (with Justin Bieber),” as well as a heartfelt album trailer. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve been this excited about a new project in a while.
After seeing the cohesiveness and rawness of his first posthumous album, Legends Never Die, in July of 2019, I have full faith the rapper’s team has put together something incredible. Not only do they have an enormous vault of unreleased songs to work with, they have the help and support of Juice’s family and loved ones.
The overarching message of Fighting Demons is clear: you are not your struggles. The phrase is the first thing you see in the album trailer. Juice WRLD struggled with depression and anxiety for years, which ended up being a major focus in his music. He was special in that way. His music was real, and he talked about subjects that most artists, especially in rap, stray away from.
One of his most transparent songs came on Legends Never Die. All things considered, “Wishing Well” might be his best song ever. That’s probably a hot take, but it’s hard to argue the impact of songs like this. Juice WRLD was in a league of his own when it came to making difficult topics digestible. The way he was able to convey his struggles with mental health in catchy, yet revealing hits was unrivaled.
The world is better off because of his music. He brought real issues into the conversation and helped countless people through battles of their own. He painted pictures with addicting melodies and captivating hip-hop production. Not to mention, the music works in literally any situation. It hits whether you’re happy or sad, boy or girl, live in LA or live in Ohio… you get the picture.
The album’s final single, “Wandered To LA” featuring Justin Bieber is no different. Originally dubbed “Hotel Room” after a snippet on Juice’s Instagram Live, fans had been dying for this song to drop, and with its catchy hook and A-List feature, it did not disappoint. The song was announced via Juice’s Instagram along with a two-minute trailer on the morning of its release. The release date was also the day after what would’ve been Juice’s 23rd birthday. The track’s cover art perfectly matches the vibe of the song, depicting an animated Juice and Bieber standing above the Hollywood sign overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
Earlier I mentioned his team has an “enormous vault of unreleased songs to work with”, so I had to come back to that. The Chicago native is rumored to have thousands of unreleased songs, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Juice WRLD was one of the most prolific rappers of the generation, and had unrivaled freestyle abilities. His hour-long freestyle on Tim Westwood’s show speaks for itself. If you needed more convincing, here’s a clip below of Lil Dicky praising his songwriting abilities. He talks about how Juice would record hit after hit in one take when working with benny blanco. We’re about to hear our second full album from his vault, and I can’t wait to see what the team has in store.
As a tribute, the city of Chicago will celebrate Juice WRLD Day on the day before the album’s release, December 9th. There will be a listening party event at the United Center stadium where supporters will experience the album before its official release and see an exclusive preview of the Juice WRLD documentary Into The Abyss which debuts on HBO Max December 16th. By the end of this event, I’d be surprised if there’s a dry eye in the house.
Juice WRLD’s impact is undeniable. He created a unique sound that hundreds of artists have since tried to imitate, built a positive and uplifting fan base, and brought mental health and other important issues into the conversation.
Stream the album, stream the singles, stream “Lucid Dreams” for all I care. Just don’t be surprised when Fighting Demons is the only thing on my aux for the next three months.