Juice WRLD continues to ride high on his codeine wave. The Chicago native put numbers on the boards with Death Race for Love, his sophomore release that spent back-to-back weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March, cementing his transformation from SoundCloud rapper to mainstream genre-bending star.
Death Race found Juice embracing his influences and exploring different genre avenues. Most of the heartbreak-obsessed project came together during a gloomy week in late January at the Blue Room studios in Los Angeles.
Nick Mira and Purps On The Beat produced eight of the 22 tracks, including both of the lead singles. Purps, a life-long Angeleno who has worked with artists like Migos and Wiz Khalifa, participated in the rap camp constructed by Juice that included producers like Cardo, Hit-Boy, and No I.D.
"It was really organic," Purps tells Billboard. "Juice] is a workhorse. It was a magical process. Everybody's chilling and eating dinner. The studio was like home. It was a cool week where we stayed true to ourselves and figured out the pieces to the puzzle. I knew it was going to go No. 1."
Mira, who will graduate high school in May, crafted packs of beats inside his home bedroom studio in Virginia before sending the product to Juice. He estimates that he has over 100 songs in the stash with Juice, and their process remains the same. "I feel like it's more changing up the style," Mira says. "Still] giving the fans the Juice WRLD they love, but it's a little more refurbished. It's just that our music has developed and he's improved as an artist. More experience leads to better music."
Mira credits having similar musical backgrounds as integral to their success. "Juice was influenced by heavy rock bands and hardcore," he says. "That was a lot of what I listened to growing up. That subconsciously goes into my music. Whenever I make that music, he makes more melodies and it blends together really well."
Below Purps On The Beat and Nick Mira discuss the eight tracks they produced on Juice WRLD's Death Race For Love.
Nick Mira: We made "Robbery" in either December 2017 or January 2018. It was just so different than the stuff he was making at the time. When I made that beat, I wasn't really doing any ballad type records. I was mainly doing ambient and spacey stuff.
With the melody, he sang over it perfectly. He texted it to me the week he made it and I thought it was amazing. It's my favorite song he's made to a beat of mine. I was waiting for it to come out and a couple months before the album dropped, I heard it was going to be on the project. I was just so glad that people could finally hear it.
Nick Mira: I sent him that in October. It was really refreshing because I never heard it finished before. To start the album with a punchy song that has a bunch of energy that sets the tone. I'm usually surprised by what's done on my beats. I have ideas, but I usually don't tell the artist. If I'm in the studio with them, I'll say an idea, but it's hard to get ideas across over email. I never thought that would be the album opener and it was just so perfect.
"Flaws and Sins"
Nick Mira: It was actually from this guitar pack I had. I made this guitar melody in my room and put them in folders to sell on my website. I had been previewing the sounds and made the beat on the spot. There's a video of me online making it somewhere. It had a nice flow to it and I sent it to Juice. He came in singing with the vocals on there. It even had some country elements in there, like a Southern accent on parts of it — it turned out really well.
Nick Mira: I sent that to him a couple weeks before the album dropped. I did it at the Internet Money house in California. He has a really good ear for knowing what's good on first listen. He can go in, do some melodies and come up with the words as he's going. It sounds genuine and organic on the spot.
It has a little marimba vibe sound from some software I was playing with. I used a midi from Sidepce, who co-produced the track. I liked the flow of it, but the notes weren't the ones that I wanted. I really wanted it to be a happy beat, so I tweaked them and made new chords. The drums were still banging hard. It was tough.
"Who Shot Cupid"
Purps On The Beat: I was on my acoustic wave when I was making that beat. I was inspired by Incubus vibes; my taste is mostly alternative California rock. We did the record and I felt it would be good for Juice. I sent it over to him when he was touring Europe and he killed it. This was a record that was on his mind since the summer. I didn't know if it was going to make it because everything happened so quick in that week — he recorded so many records.
"Hear Me Calling"
Purps: I making that record in the studio on New Year's Eve. I was going for more of a pop vibe, switching up from our normal stuff. I wasn't going to play it for him, but it was in the batch of beats for him. Max Lord Juice's engineer] pressed play on it and as soon as Juice heard it, he was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I really like this." He knocked that out within the hour. It was super catchy. I was definitely inspired by 2016 Drake a bit. In my travels to Germany and London, I noticed a lot of mainstream music used that afrobeats. I was inspired by the world loving that rhythm. It's universal.
Purps: That was definitely inspired by mellow nu-metal music. Like Limp Bizkit. I was getting trippy with that beat. We made that in the studio as well. Juice was with his girlfriend and he was singing to her the whole time. I thought that was really cool, making a song about the whole context of the situation. He freestyled the whole thing really quick. At first, I was like, "I don't even remember him recording that."
"Won't Let Go"
Purps: We were all chilling and kicking it, one of those late-night sessions where Juice asked me to pull up a pack. That was the first beat I played. I produced it with MoreGoth, who did the guitars. Juice put some headphones on and started recording in the control room. It's pretty crazy. Everyone just shuts up.