MUSIC

R.I.P. Juice WRLD: His Best Songs to Listen to Today

"Lucid Dreams" is iconic, but let's pay homage to a few of his other hits.

"I always had my own lane regardless of who I was around."

Following the deaths of XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep, Juice Wrld was very much seen as Emo-Rap's vibrant successor. His lyrics were soaked in teenage melancholy but were never ostentatious, with his voice always distinct from those of his Soundcloud peers. He could at one moment croon with the angst of Dashboard Confessional, yet go bar-for-bar in freestyles against any of his hip-hop peers. Everyone from Future to Sting praised his music as a teen, with the latter calling Juice Wrld's 5x platinum hit "Lucid Dreams" an "impressive" take on his song "Shape of the Heart."

Juice Wrld was destined to be iconic in life and will undoubtedly achieve that distinction in death, but it still hurts to know that, once again, we find ourselves mourning the loss of a monumental talent whose story wasn't supposed to end yet. Here are a few of Juice Wrld's best, if severely underrated, offerings that now carry a larger-than-life meaning.

"I'm Still"

One of the fan favorites from Juice WRLD's debut album, I'm Still, is an infectious amalgamation of pop punk and Hip-Hop. His distressed "oh's" are heartbreaking and ring as cathartic air horns for the emotionally perturbed. The Goodbye & Good Riddance deep-cut equally demonstrates Juice WRLD's talent for song-writing. "I'm holding my breath and watching my step, I'm listing regrets, and you made that list," he sings to an old flame. "You're my depression, your first impression wasn't deception."

"Wasted (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)"

Juice WRLD and Uzi go together like caffeine and nicotine. "Wasted" allows its host to croon with raw emotional efficacy, while being malleable enough to allow "rockstar" Uzi to come in and thrash around. In hindsight, the duo was destined to make an incomparable supergroup.

"Rich and Blind"

Released as part of a two-track bundle dissecting the death of his peers Lil Peep and X, "Rich and Blind" is Juice WRLD at his most raw, and now seems particularly haunting. "They tell me the death of me gon' be the Perky's" he sings. "I know they lace pills I bought them on purpose." Laced Percocet pills are now suspected to have triggered Juice WRLD's fatal seizure.

"Jet Lag"

As part of his unexpected and grandiose collaborative project with Future, "Jet Lag" shows that despite his pop-punk sensibilities, Juice WRLD can fit right in with today's biggest rap icons and make some bangers if given the chance. "Got a bad bitch like Megan Good, choppa long like a golf club, hold that bitch like Tiger Woods." Future was also sighted as one of Juice WRLD's most major influences as a kid, making the album particularly special.

"Lean Wit Me"

Another eerily morbid song in hindsight, "Lean Wit Me" finds Juice WRLD frankly discussing his drug abuse and exploring his fruitless journey to sobriety. The song is one of Juice WRLD's most raw and honest tracks, and it's an impressive tribute to Dem Franchize Boyz's 2006 hit "Lean wit It, Rock wit it." His voice wavers as he calls out, "If I overdose, bae, are you gon' drop with me?," as if he is on the brink of tears. The track's video paints a more vivid picture of Juice WRLD's journey, portraying him at a D.A.A. meeting and unveiling that his ex-girlfriend overdosed.

"Candles"

In another song that captures Juice WRLD's talent for frank and open story telling, he discusses his hesitancy to pursue a new relationship, but admits he can't pinpoint the reason for his reluctance. Instead of searching for answers, Juice WRLD self-medicates to avoid these difficult questions.

"Bandit (feat. NBA Youngboy) 

Juice's final single is also one of his best; it teased at a refreshed Juice WRLD ready for war. The upbeat swaggering track finds Juice WRLD and NBA melting together like bread and butter, and both parties have never sounded more in their zone. Additionally, the record debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Hide"

Curated for Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, the pop-leaning single is a perfect addition to the soundtrack's stacked roster. Not to mention it was featured in the film during the apex of Mile's origin story. The film's emotional climax is anchored by Juice WRLD's uncanny ability to convey raw heartbreak in his voice.

"Fast"

Apparently made in about 15 minutes (along with most of his songs), "Fast" is an absolute ear-worm and standout from his expansive sophomore album Death Race For Love. The track finds Juice WRLD, while still a heartless Lothario, embracing the role of full-fledged pop star. It's songs like "Fast" that demonstrate the expansive versatility of an artist like Juice WRLD and reminds us that he's always in on his own jokes. "It's okay 'cause I'm rich," he sings. "Psych, I'm still sad as a b*tch." It hurts to know he won't continue making songs this delightfully infectious.

"All Girls Are the Same"

There is no other song that more perfectly captures the ethos of Juice WRLD. The hook is melodically contagious, while Juice WRLD offers some of the most candid songwriting of his career: "All this jealousy and agony that I sit in
I'm a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon." It's an anthem for hormonal middle schoolers everywhere and has no doubt been the remedy for a plethora of teen heartbreaks.

MUSIC

The 10 Worst Lyrics From Your Favorite Rappers

Even famous rappers don't get it right every time.

Everyone has a bad day every now and then, even your favorite rappers.

The highly accomplished acts below no doubt have more hits than flops, but in a sense that's what makes their flops so noticeable and uncharacteristic. From Drake, Rick Ross, and Future to Lil Wayne and Run-DMC, these are the worst lyrics uttered by your favorite rappers.

Future

"f*ck around, pull out my dick and I pee on her."

Nicki Minaj

"When he was a geisha, I was a Samurai, somehow I understood him when he spoke Thai."

Rocko - U.O.E.N.O. ft. Future, Rick Ross

"Put molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it."

RUN-DMC - King Of Rock (Official Video)

"There's three of us, but we're not the Beatles."

Lil Wayne

"I'm a venereal disease, like a menstrual bleed."

Nas

"Honey ain't a politican, she a pole-a-tician."

YG

"On my late-night thirsty, 'cause it was late-night and I was thirsty"

Fredo Santana

"Baby girl pull your pants up, I only want your face"

Pittbull

"Your man just left, I'm the plumber tonight, let me check your pipes. Oh, you're the healthy type. Well, here goes some egg whites."

Lil Pump

"I'm a millionaire but I don't know how to read."

MUSIC

The Best Songs on 2019’s Worst Albums

We combed through the saving grace moments of 2019's biggest disappointments.

2019 has been an odd year for music.

Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish continue to dominate the radio landscape with their unique marketing and overall absurdities. As a result, 2019 has been a year for redefining the parameters of musical creativity and what it takes to make a successful record. Perhaps, as a result, a lot of this year's most anticipated releases ended up flopping. While some of these releases were merely lackluster, others were just plain bad. Of course, it's important to note that not every bad project was without its high points. So to pay homage to the biggest flops of the year, here are some of the best songs off of 2019's worst albums.


Lil Pump’s “Butterfly Doors”

While Harvard Dropout was one of 2019's most highly anticipated albums, it flopped because, as many predicted, it turns out Lil Pump is just not that talented. From priding himself on being illiterate to talking about blowing two million at Tootsies, this album is just truly absurd. Even so, Pump's forte is crafting catchy fraternity anthems. “Butterfly Doors" has enough versatility to get your head bobbing, and it doesn't contain nearly as many dumb metaphors as the other 15 tracks.

MUSIC

Is Future Problematic? A Look at One of Rap's Most Successful Misogynists

As the rapper’s latest baby mama drama unfolds, it’s time to hold Future accountable

Let's face it: It might be time to cancel Future.

Nayvadius Wilburn, otherwise known as the Atlanta trap icon Future, has historically had trouble taking personal responsibility for his actions.

For one, while he's always been frank about his battles with addiction, he's claimed to be (somehow) unaware of his music's influence on young kids.

Yet up-and-coming rapper Juice WRLD, who recorded a collaborative project with Future last year, admitted that the Atlanta rapper inspired him to start sipping cough syrup when he was in middle school. "When he told me that, I was like, 'Oh sh*t. What the f*ck have I done?" Future recently told Rolling Stone. "I didn't think I'd care about that stuff. Four years ago, I probably wouldn't have cared if he told me." Juice WRLD claimed Future "kind of apologized."

In a separate interview with Genius, Future admitted that he had actually stopped drinking cough syrup but remained mute on his sobriety out of fear that his fans would stop "loving him" if they knew he was sober. He mentioned that certain people in his inner circle pressured him to continue to use drugs and party. "The people around you are chasing the high so they want you to continue to chase that same high," he said.

Both the interviews came prior to the January release of his latest studio album, Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD, and they seemed to represent a dramatic shift in tone for the rapper. However, listening to the album, that growth and sense of responsibility were suddenly absent. "I'm too rich to be sober," he sings on "Overdose," "got the whole world taking Xan's"; he turns a hint of regret into a braggadocio statement. He describes on "Unicorn Purp" how he's "on that purp like a unicorn."

But both fans and critics were rather forgiving of these discrepancies, suggesting that this album was the end of the old Future. "I think this is the ending of Future that we once knew," said Rory on The Joe Budden Podcast. "It did feel that way. I think the content is changing now."

But Budden wasn't as forgiving, reminding listeners of his other discrepancies.

After acknowledging the rapper's hypocritical attitude toward drug use, Budden went on to address other hypocrisies that Future's faced and failed to address. In an interview with Beats 1, Future claimed that his ex-wife, Ciara, introduced their kid to her new husband, Russel Wilson, before "she allowed Wilson and Future to meet." "He do exactly what she tell him to do," Future said, mentioning that Wilson should be a "man" and forbid Ciara from even mentioning his name in public. "If that was me, she couldn't even bring his name up. She know that. She couldn't even bring her exes' names up...don't give that sh*t no energy."

"Why does he keep telling us how everybody else should be behaving?" Budden said of the interview. "And all of it is to benefit him," his co-host Rory added. Budden went on to say that he doesn't respect Future as a man: "In real life, we ain't see no maturation from Future!" When asked for a response, Future said candidly, "I don't f*ck with Joe Budden." He added, "He got a badass bitch though."

The latter comment falls in line with how the rapper has historically objectified women.

He has historically denied culpability when it comes to mistreating his sexual partners. Future and Ciara have been at each other's throats since 2015 in what has been a very public post-breakup feud. The soon-to-be newlyweds called it quits after Ciara discovered that the rapper had been sleeping with his wardrobe consultant. Future denied the allegations, claiming he was the one to call it quits and that he just stuck it out because he felt embarrassed for her.

Since then, the two have had a tumultuous back and forth. Future has bad-mouthed his ex on social media multiple times, allegedly costing Ciara an endorsement deal in the process. Future's public airing out of his frustrations has also inspired fans to be equally vicious, continuously coming to the rapper's defense to attack Ciara and her new husband.

While Ciara and Future share custody of their kid together, the rapper has five additional baby mamas, with a sixth stepping forward this week. Eliza Reign, the latest to have a child by the rapper, alleged that she initially received death threats after deciding to keep the baby; and since the little girl's birth, she's been unable to get in contact with Future.

He's body-shamed and degraded his female fans.

Future's toxic behavior has hardly tainted his legacy as an artist, but there have been enough instances to warrant severe criticism. Back in March, rumors started to fly that Future wouldn't allow "fattie" women to enter a club he was performing at in Miami. He denied the allegations, saying, "I love all women." He additionally came under scrutiny in 2017 when he said on Twitter that his "kids gotta make a sacrifice" for having a superstar dad. The statement came a year after one of his baby mamas sued him for "emotional neglect" of their son, citing that the child has "emotional and behavioral issues" as a result of Future's bad parenting.

A few months after the release of WIZRD, Future announced the release of a surprise EP called SAVE ME. The EP, which critics have derided as his most thematically stifling, attempted to paint a more sympathetic narrative of the artist. "I only call you when I'm faded / Your arms around me, come and save me," he sings on "Xanax Damage," referring to his continued Xanax abuse. "I've been possessed, they wanna take my soul," he sings on "Love Thy Enemies." "Save my flesh, I'm in need of your love."

Future clearly sees himself as a creative martyr, as someone who's sacrificed his health and happiness in order to create great art and keep his fans. But even in his darkest and most vulnerable moments, obnoxious lyrics like, "I'm gettin' cocky, treat a good girl like she ran down / Catch an attitude I'ma go and f*ck your friend now," squash any empathy one could have for the 35-year-old. While he attempts to paint himself as a lost soul in need of guidance, the #MeToo movement has proven that misogynistic men will do anything to frame themselves as victims in order to ultimately direct attention away from those who have suffered as a result of their ignorance.

Future hasn't matured; he's just changed his narrative. In January, when asked for his opinion on the downfall of R. Kelly, Future said: "When you give things too much attention, they blow up...stop talking about it, it'll go away." That bit of advice seems to be Future's calling card, and while ignorance is clearly bliss in the Hip-Hop community, at what point are we going to start holding our favorite artists to a higher standard?

MUSIC

Nicki Minaj's Murky Stance on Sexual Abuse

The artist has sided with abusers throughout her career. Should she be held accountable?

Back in 2018, ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer took to his DailyMail TV show to comment on Nicki Minaj's new relationship with a man named Kenneth Petty.

While Minaj told listeners yesterday on her Queens radio show that the couple had obtained a marriage certificate, the relationship has been steeped in controversy since its early stages. After rumors of the couple began to swirl, it was revealed that Petty was a registered sex offender in New York. When he was 16, he was convicted of using a "sharp object" to force sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl. To quell the growing backlash, Minaj took to Instagram and said the charges had been trumped up. "He was 15, she was 16...in a relationship. Y'all can't run my life," she wrote. Palmer noted that this response wasn't "the first time Minaj had defended a sex offender," saying Minaj also supported her older brother, Jelani Maraj, when he was accused of sexual assault back in 2017. Maraj was ultimately found guilty of repeatedly raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter. Minaj denied that she ever supported her brother during his trial and said she was prepared to sue Palmer for defamation.

While Palmer may have misspoken, Minaj's stance on sexual abuse and domestic violence has historically been murky. Minaj's brief Instagram rebuttal to the backlash against Petty is no doubt problematic, as it loosely implies that since the victim and Petty were dating, her claims of rape are somehow invalid or "trumped up." Minaj claims not to have supported her brother during his trial but was known to have allegedly wrote to him on Instagram, "I love you more than you will ever know."

She was also spotted visiting him in prison, though Minaj claims she only did so to support her mother. Minaj's mother believes Maraj to be innocent. "We have the affidavits to prove that [the jury] was busy talking about his sister [outside the courtroom.] If his sister didn't show up that means he was guilty," she said in an interview with Hip Hop Hood Report. "They totally ignored the evidence that there was no evidence to prove this man guilty." A juror misconduct inquiry was opened in October of 2018, although Nassau's DA office has stood firmly by the conviction. DNA evidence found on the victim's pajamas matched Maraj's and the victim's 10-year-old brother took the stand to graphically describe, under oath, what he saw when he allegedly walked in on the 40-year-old raping his sister. Maraj's attorney, John Labau, said he agreed that he doesn't believe there is enough evidence to convict his client, but noted, "Do I think maybe something happened? Probably."

6ix9ine, Nicki Minaj, Murda Beatz - “FEFE” (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


Minaj's stance on violence against women has repeatedly been called into question. She has continually supported Chris Brown and Tyga, both of which have extensive rap sheets of sexual misconduct and faced a slew of negative backlash when she collaborated with controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine in 2018. Fans were upset with Minaj's ability to overlook 6ix9ines guilty plea of raping a 13-year-old earlier that year—an ex-girlfriend of 6ix9ine additionally told The Daily Beast in 2019 that he physically and sexually abused her during the entirety of their relationship. Minaj further announced that 6ix9ine would be co-headling her NICKIHNDRXX tour with her and Future—who has also faced multiple accusations of being misogynistic towards women.

"It is one of the more egregious examples of an artist sacrificing principles for profit," wrote The Daily Beast of Minaj's decision to work with 6ix9ine. "When the queen of rap picks out a 22-year-old to collaborate with…[she's] legitimizing a man who's legally copped to—while continuing to lie about—some pretty vile behavior." Minaj faced further backlash later that year for "slut-shaming" female celebrities in an interview with Elle Magazine. "Maybe I was naïve, but I didn't realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes," she said. "These are girls are so beautiful and have so much to offer. But I started finding out that you give them a couple of thousand dollars, and you can have sex with them...it makes me sad as a woman." Fans noted that Minaj has historically used her sexuality in order to help her career. In 2010, Minaj admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone that she lied about being bisexual in order to attract media attention.

However, it's important to note the controversies that Minaj has faced—including Palmer's swiftness to classify her as a supporter of sex offenders—exhibit a double standard in popular culture. Chris Brown, who has extensively been accused of violence against women, was accused of raping a woman in Paris in January, and as a response he printed and sold T-shirts that read "This Bitch Lyin!,'" directly profiting off the accusations. While the trial is still ongoing, the shirts are currently sold out. Additionally, Ammer Vann of Brockhampton was accused of sexual misconduct and subsequently was kicked out of the group—only to go on and continue making music. His last Soundcloud release, "I'm sorry," addressed the allegations, its comment section filled with fans showering praise and respect on the artist. Tyga, Sheck Wes, Kodak Black, and Nas are just a few of the other male artists who have recently been accused of violence against women.

Is Minaj's own hesitance to condemn abusers based on her personal disbelief of the accusers? Or has she just been conditioned to look the other way in an industry that has historically objectified women? Is it a little bit of both? "As a [black] woman in a male-dominated industry, Minaj has faced a great deal of adversity," wrote Flare Magazine. Minaj has openly advocated for female empowerment and has "demonstrated fearlessness in pointing out institutional racism," which makes her handling of abusers and sexuality that much more confusing. "Minaj's support of the wrong people showed me that she might not have the iron-clad morals that I have come to expect from her," wrote Flare. "[It] actually helped me humanize her. It is now evident to me that I wasn't actually in love with Minaj as a person—I was in love with her feminist boss-ass-bitch image, and was filtering out the rest." Should we continue to "filter" our artists in 2019?

Frontpage Popular News

Maroon 5 Headlining Super Bowl ’19 Halftime Show

Are you ready Adam Levine?

Add some pop to the game!

pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com

Football fans and those who are fond of Maroon 5 will celebrate the upcoming Super Bowl with plenty of play-by-plays and pop music. As per Variety, "Maroon 5 will be the halftime performers at the 2019 Super Bowl, multiple sources confirm." Note: The Pepsi Halftime Show.

The band is certainly mainstream enough, but is the football crowd into The Voice judge and his crew as much as they are for say, Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake? We'll have to tune in to see how the band performs and how the audience reacts.

But will Maroon 5 alone be enough to wow the folks and the stadium and those at home sitting on their sofas? Collaborations are often the key to taking a halftime performance to the next level. Sure, the band is cool and they have a bunch of hit songs to keep the show moving, but today's fans need more fun and flair in order to deem the show as a success.

Will we see Christina Aguilera belt out a duet with Levine? How 'bout Cardi B? Future would be fantastic as would Kendrick Lamar. All have worked with the band before and would extend the appeal to a wider audience. Not to mention the tons of talent that would take over the stage.

m.media-amazon.com

If you're no football fan but want to watch for the entertainment portion of the program, the band will be on your television on February 3, coming to you from Atlanta, GA. Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, Matt Flynn, PJ Morton, and Sam Farrar of Maroon 5 will make the halftime show special, whether or not they add extra spice to the set. And Levine must be excited. In a '15 interview with the Hollywood Reporter he shared, "We very actively want to play the Super Bowl." Dreams do come true.

While this show is unlikely to draw in viewership as huge as the all-time record set by Katy Perry in 2015 ( 120.7 million people tuned in), they'll still be expected to pull out as many bells and whistles as a pop band can. And we're not talking "wardrobe malfunctions." Sorry Janet.

media.newyorker.com

As for who is singing the National Anthem? Still TBD. Last year P!nk was patriotic, and before her Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga, and Idina Menzel did their duty. As long as Roseanne doesn't butcher the "Banner" and whoever's chosen can remember all the words and hit the high notes, we'll be alright.

So, tune in, watch the guys play their hearts out on the field and behind the mics, and cheer for the team you hope will win. Maroon 5 will supply the soundtrack and set the tone for the 2019 Super Bowl.


Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.



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