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Meaning of the ‘Righteous’ by ‘Juice WRLD’

Released: 2020

“Righteous” by Juice WRLD is a deep dive into the rapper’s struggles with substance abuse and anxiety. The song highlights his attempts to cope with mental turmoil, leading him on a path of self-medication – a tragic but honest illustration of his reality.

The opening lines “All white Gucci suit, I’m feeling righteous, yeah” paint a picture of the rapper’s outward appearance – fancy threads, looking good for the world. But immediately he counters this image with, “I know that the truth is hard to digest, yeah” acknowledging the disparity between his public image and his personal struggles.

“Five or six pills in my right hand, yeah…Codeine runneth over on my nightstand”, these lines pull no punches, explicitly addressing his problems with drug abuse. The use of the word ‘runneth’ makes a potent biblical nod to Psalm 23:5, “my cup runneth over”, but here, the overflow isn’t blessings, it’s addictive substances. Juice WRLD is ‘medicating’ to repair mental damage, the scale of which is “the size of a planet”.

The line “Holes in my skull, over time. My heart’s over ice” utilizes brilliant wordplay, capturing the physical effects of drug abuse, and his numb emotional state. The phrase “over ice” is a clever double meaning – referring both to a serving style of beverages and his emotionally cold, detached state.

When he says, “We may die this evening…Coughing, wheezing, bleeding” alludes to his health deteriorating due to substance abuse. The ‘blood moons’ in his eyes represent the side effects and the ‘stay low’, ‘under attack’, and ‘hell so cold’ lyrics communicate his perception of being constantly under siege from his demons.

“My demons ten feet, under me… Inhale, exhale, but I can’t breathe” vividly portrays the suffocating presence of his struggles, while the ‘drinking codeine doin’ high speeds’ line extends the metaphor to illustrate a reckless, self-destructive path.

The lyrics “Crash, pour a four, sip it slow, make the time pass… Devil in my head tryna run gym laps. I ain’t tryna race, he don’t even know me like that” lays bare his tactics to escape pain, slow down time, to not engage in the mental race induced by his anxieties.

Repetition of the chorus drives home the gravity of his situation, emphasizing the cyclical nature of his struggles. The song ends as it begins, with the phrase “I will see”, suggesting a glimpse of self-awareness or hope, a light flickering in the abyss.

“Righteous” is a powerful narrative of Juice WRLD’s battles and offers a profound insight into the torments that can be hidden behind the glitz and glamour of fame. It’s a testimony to the raw and uncompromising honesty that defines his music and will stay etched in hip-hop’s collective memory.

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