Album Review: Juice WRLD - Death Race For Love
Reviewed by Matt Shaffer
Rapper Juice WRLD dropped his sophomore album last week titled “Death Race For Love.” The Chicago native rose to prominence last year with hits like “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same”, establishing his place as one of the hottest young rappers in the game. This second project is just over an hour long, with 22 tracks. It’s mostly all Juice, with the exception of a few features from Brent Faiyaz, Clever, and Young Thug.
Track One- Empty
The opener on this thing sets the tone for the whole record, playing off the “sad boy” emo rap trend, Juice speaks how empty he is on the inside, rattling off coping mechanisms. “I problem solve with Styrofoam” is a seminal refrain that comes up in the chorus. The lead track is fine, not a hit, but still fine.
Track Two- Maze
A follow up to the first track, Juice reiterates the same theme, talking about how he is coping with his emotional struggles with drugs. This one is a bit more catchier with a better chorus than the opener.
Track Three- HeMotions
The whole bit on this one is the play on words with the words emotion and motions. Juice is going through his motions to get through the day, but still looking for ways to handle his fluctuating emotions. Not a whole lot of diversification on the beats early either. This is a bit of a filler.
Track Four- Demonz feat. Brent Faiyaz- Interlude
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of interludes on albums, they tend to be wasteful time fillers, but this thing is all Brent Faiyaz and a nice change of pace early in the album. It tells the story of an inner monologue about slipping into a depressive state, maintaining the theme of the album, but also deviating from the sound of the first three songs.
Track Five- Fast
This is a great track. It’s catchy and relevant to the listener who has seen Juice surge into the mainstream. The rise to fame can be sudden, and it’s something obvious that he can explore with his art. It sounds a bit like Wiz Khalifa's “When I’m Gone” off of Rolling Papers, just with darker lyrics.
Track Six- Hear Me Calling
I felt that this track is a bit clunky. It’s a song about love and heartbreak, but Juice’s flow and the production on this one aren’t all that great. Not a fan of this one.
Track Seven- Big
Another clunky flow from Juice on this one, but I like the production more than the last. He’s flexing his muscles on this track, straying away from his normal routine. The appeal of Juice WRLD, at least for me, is when he leans into the emo-rap flow. The sing-song flow of his raps are when he is at his strongest. This isn’t one of those songs.
Track Eight- Robbery
This was one of his singles off this record and you can tell why. It’s a prime example of the sound that’s similar to “Lucid Dreams.” It’s a breakup rap song, corny to some, but Juice does it really well. The piano in this one is extremely catchy.
Track Nine- Flaws and Sins
Another love song that works. It’s not the deepest or most introspective track, but there’s a good bounce to this beat and his flow works. He’s essentially rapping about loving someone for who they are and still finds a way to make it work just based off the production alone.
Track Ten- Feeling
Anytime he seems to rattle off a few great tracks, the whole record halts with another poor track. There are some rough bars on this thing (ex: My girl Lamborghini / your girl Honda Accord.) That is painfully bad. It does sound like something a 20-year old would rap about, just not something you want from a pro.
Track Eleven- Syphilis
This one is a stinker. The lyrics read like something that would sound better if it were 6ix9ine, but it does not fit the Juice WRLD brand. Halfway through this record, it seems incredibly inconsistent in the sound and theme it’s looking for. I like the beat, just not for this record.
Track Twelve- Who Shot Cupid?
It’s incredible that Juice is capable of sounding completely different on back-to-back tracks. This is the stuff that he excels at. This one isn’t his best effort on the album, but it sounds consistent with his better works on the album so far.
Track Thirteen- Ring Ring feat. Clever
Another good one. The guitar out of the gate on this one gives the song some edge to it, but it’s something about Juice’s voice and flow that make the song seem positive when the lyrics are really dark and depressing. The blend of emotions in the production, flow, and lyrics is what makes his music so appealing. Really good song.
Track Fourteen- Desire
This song is consistent with the theme that I would have liked to see throughout the whole entire project. It’s lighter on the surface with the beat, but there is clear and apparent heartbreak in Juice’s voice. Pretty solid song.
Track Fifteen- Out My Way
It’s another flex song, that I actually kind of like. It doesn’t fit in this album at all, but it works as a stand-alone. The beat is one of the strongest on the whole record, my only problem is that it strays so far away from what a majority of the songs are doing on this project.
Track Sixteen- The Bees Knees
Another song that doesn’t match the identity of the earlier songs, but still kind of works. I would have preferred if Juice shelved these later songs for a separate record, but it’s stuck on the back end of this one. This one drags a bit too and could have been shorter.
Track Seventeen- ON GOD feat. Young Thug
I can’t ever knock a song with Thugger on it, I simply can’t. This album drifts into a completely different sound on the back half, but I wish it would have been its own project. You can’t have both the emo-rap thing going on, while also flexing hard on the back end of the record. The sounds do not mix well with one another, even though the song is still pretty solid.
Track Eighteen- 10 Feet
The sudden switch on this record really bothers me because it is a different sound from Juice that deserves its own space. It would be an ok track on its own record but just clutters this one.
Track Nineteen- Won’t Let Go
Another shift that reverts back to his patented sound. It is immensely more fitting on this record than the previous four or five tracks. The shouting/singing bits on this song are the highlights and it sticks to the romantic theme of the “Death Race To Love.
Track Twenty- She’s The One
Another track with some rough bars on it. It’s a pretty boring song to stick on here this late in the runtime. Nothing stands out on it, it’s pretty bland.
Track Twenty-One- Rider
These last two tracks would’ve fared better if they were located differently in the record. Really a bizarre choice to put these last two songs on the back half of the album because they are incredibly boring and now rehashing the same exact theme.
Track Twenty-Two- Make Believe
It’s a bit of a blend of what makes Juice so good, and what kind of bogged down this whole record. Nothing too catchy, but he mixes in his the good side of his flow towards the back end of the song. Not the best closer, but he could’ve done worse.
Truthfully, I am not the biggest fan of big records with a ton of tracks on them unless you have one cohesive sound and theme to stay on. This one is a bit all over the place and doesn’t have a track that I feel like can stick out and become a hit. I would’ve shaved this thing down to 14 tracks total and kept with the sing-song, Post Malone-ish, type sound that revolves around his romantic endeavors.