The Direct Influence of Kid Cudi on Juice Wrld
Last week on a whim, I decided to give Juice WRLD's latest album, Death Race For Love a listen. I had thoroughly enjoyed his previous album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, so my hopes were that I would at least like a song or two off of this one. My expectations were quickly exceeded after three listens front to back.
Juice WRLD has gained his fan base through mostly "emo rap", a category that is becoming more common amongst the younger generation of rap fans. His raps consist of him talking bluntly about his use of drugs to cope for dealing with pain, his inability to contain his emotions, and heartbreak. Songs like "Lucid Dreams" "Used To" and "Hear Me Calling" are a small sample and an ode to this.
I immediately began thinking randomly about how important Kid Cudi must have been to the development and sound of Juice WRLD. Cudi, was the first mainstream rapper to promote and consistently speak about mental health. His break out single, Day N' Nite set the tone for what would become a career of advocating and discussing his personal issues. As his career progressed, he would eventually begin speaking on his addiction to drugs in additition to that.
Juice WRLD clearly took a page or two out of Cudi's book, and has found his lane. His hooks are catchy, his lyrics resonate with anyone who is or has gone through any sort of heartbreak, disorder, or rough time internally. His openness and willingness to discuss his feelings and darkest insecurities over trap beats in the most straight forward way is almost all to recognizable to me as heavily Cudi influence.
Their tone's are what separate them and make them almost polar opposites. Heavily auto tune based, Juice WRLD focuses on getting his audiences attention through his pitch in his voice, a specific and uniquely placed catchy jingle, and keeping them with what he's saying. Cudi is more melody driven using signature sounds like his humming, and his low pitched voice mixed with dark production. Their sounds are almost completely different but the subject matter and content of their creations are identical. They both have a weird form of magnetism about their music that draws in everyone who feels they are outlaws, or unaccounted for, and it's quite special once you start paying attention to how many people gravitate to their music for the same reasons. It's even more special because they are doing it with pride on the mainstream level.
It's no surprise that Cudi's influence is evident in Juice WRLD'S music, as Kid Cudi might be the most influential artist sonically of my generation (I'm only 21, relax) behind Kanye West. But I am excited to hear and witness the next step in Juice WRLD's career, because if he continues to follow in Cudi's footsteps (he's only 20), we have a major superstar on our hands.