On the Saturday evening of BET Weekend, Juice WRLD held an exclusive private dinner and celebration for his Best New Artist nomination at Sunday’s 2019 BET Awards.
Presented by Audiomack and BMG, select friends and top executives from Interscope, BMG and GradeA Productions conjoined at BOA Steakhouse on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood to congratulate the Chicago rapper on over 115 million streams on Audiomack.
The 20-year-old gained much notoriety with his breakout single “Lucid Dreams,” the official video of which has racked up more than 348 million views and counting. The record was initially released on SoundCloud and clocked 2.5 million streams before a re-release in May 2018 via Interscope and GradeA Productions, and his debut album “Goodbye & Good Riddance.”
A&R Raj Jadeja, who signed Juice WRLD to BMG Music Publishing, states, “I’m just grateful and proud of this young man, everything he’s accomplished in the last year we’ve known each other and been together,” he said. “He’s one of the hardest working and most talented artists I’ve ever been around, and one of the greatest songwriters of my time.”
The release of his second studio album, “Death Race for Love,” has seen Juice WRLD rise from a Soundcloud rapper to one of the biggest artists in the game in just two years.
“The thing about him is he takes it in stride,” said BMG’s Monti Olson. “I love that about him.”
Also in attendance at Saturday’s dinner — which was originally scheduled for Friday, but Juice missed his flight — were fellow Chi-town rappers Polo G and Lil Bibby, whose GradeA Productions Juice WRLD is signed to.
Variety spoke with Juice WRLD shortly before he received his plaque for reaching 115 million streams — pictured above, he’s with Audiomack’s Jason Johnson, staffers from that company and co-presenter BMG Music Publishing, and others. (Pictured, L-R: Ally Lotti, Peter Jideonwo, Lil Bibby, Juice WRLD, Raj Jadeja, Izabela Jadeja, Aaron “Dash” Sherrod, Jason Johnson, Carrington Harris)
What does this honor mean to you?
I don’t really know how to describe it other than it’s a blessing really. All I do is thank God and look at it as an accomplishment, and keep going. What’s next after this, I just gotta keep going.
What are your favorite collaborations so far?
It’d probably have to be Future and Young Thug — those are two of the people who were most influential to me when I was growing up. Being such a big fan of their music and within such a short amount of time being in the same room with them, bouncing ideas off each other, making songs and projects, it’s a blessing.
What was it like working in the studio with Future?
We both record real fast. We both have a bunch of ideas. It’s constant flow, we always work, but it didn’t feel like work at all.
What’s your best memory with Young Thug?
The “Realer N’ Realer” video — he wasn’t even in the song, it’s me and Future’s song, but he was up in the video. It was a vibe that day, we were just having fun. We flew to L.A., me and Thug, we had a private jet.
How has working with Thug influenced your career?
It encourages me to keep being creative. Keep expanding and not being afraid to try new sh–. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, that applies to music as well as everything else.
How does it feel being nominated for Best New Artist at BET Awards?
I’m speechless when it comes to stuff like that, honestly. It’s a blessing. A year or two ago, I’d be watching this sh– on TV. Now, here I am.
Besides yourself, who’s your favorite to win the category? (Other nominees are Blueface, City Girls, Lil Baby and Queen Naija)
Lil Baby, that’s another one of my favorite artists. Baby is a monster.
There are a lot of hip-hop artists behind bars — 6ix9ine, Greedo, Durk. Thoughts on the justice system?
If you a minority, the justice system is made for you to lose. I’m not anybody to judge somebody’s actions. Everybody makes their own mistakes, regardless of what the mistake is. But if you’re a minority, just keep in mind that this criminal justice system was made for people to lose.
What’s your girlfriend Ally’s favorite song by you?
It’s not out yet — I’mma just call it “Never Seen a Soul Like Yours Before.”
What can we expect from you next?
I’ma drop something in the summer, but my next album album is going to come out on my birthday, December 2nd. There’s going to be a lot of content in between that, but the world gon’ see what’s up.
Last question, how’d you miss your flight yesterday?