West Seattle’s rising rapper JuiceTheGod casually pulls up to Alki Beach in a two-tone Dodge Challenger. He sports two gold chains, gold-nugget earrings, a gold grill (top and bottom), a thick gold ring on his forefinger, and an iPhone in each hand. Surprisingly, the 21-year-old rapper comes off as a humble kid with a good head on his shoulders. Our conversation always seems to lead back to his family and his need to be a role model for the next generation.
“He’s 19,” Juice says of the cousin who inspired his song “Free G.” “He’s facing years. He’s about to go to the penitentiary. My uncle’s doing life. My dad just got out of prison. I met my dad first when I was 15. All my male figures that I knew got took from me. I was raised in the streets. In West Seattle. That’s all I know.”
Juice has made a quick leap onto the local scene—his popularity boosted after linking with local director Yung Tada to shoot a video for his “Make Em Say Remix,” a new spin on a classic Master P track. Juice, born just one year before “Make ’Em Say Uhh!” was released, credits his mom for turning him on to the track. “I was, like, 2,” he says. “I don’t know how I remember, but my mom used to play that shit every day. I don’t know why, but that memory is so vivid to me.” Though he was born in ’96, Juice raps without modern flash, his flow very reminiscent of early-’90s hip-hop. He says one of his biggest influences was Mac Dre because he “loves that funky shit.”
For Juice, the struggles of the males in his family are a motivation to be the best man he can be. Besides rap, he also focuses on basketball and school. Currently enrolled in Bellevue College, he’s working on transferring to Centralia College to play for the team. Unfortunately, he may soon have to choose between rap and basketball. After discovering Juice’s music and videos online, the coach at Centralia asked him not to post any music or videos while playing on the team. “They caught wind of my rapping and said it would be a bad look,” he explains. “I’m a kid from the inner city coming to a small town that’s pretty conservative. They’re going to look at me rapping with my gold teeth and tattoos. He’s worried about how [the community] will look at me.”
As we conclude our interview from a bench on Alki facing the beach, one of Juice’s phones buzzes. Fellow West Seattle rapper MackNed calls Juice from Hollywood to check up on him. Ned often calls Juice to make sure he’s continuing to push his budding music career. Looking across the water, Juice assures me that he too will soon be a mentor, calling home to check on the up-and-comers. But now, he optimistically focuses on his future. “If I make it out of West Seattle, I can make it anywhere.”