There’s long been talk in hip-hop of, say, Drake’s Take Care being, actually, an emo album. And it is, kind of. But it’s emo in a more conceptual way — not in quite the same way that newer hip-hop artists like Lil Uzi Vert, the late Lil Peep, and Juice WRLD make actual emo-descended music. Uzi’s “XO Tour Llif3” conveys the same sad mania that defined every wave of emo, especially in the 2000s, and Peep’s “Falling Down” sounds like Good Charlotte (who are barely emo, but you get the idea).
“Lucid Dreams,” the breakout hit of 19-year-old Juice WRLD, follows suit, with the young artist adopting a flow that hybridizes emo’s traditional whine with the melodic cadences of the post-808s & Heartbreak rap world. That’s reason enough for Halsey, herself a fan of young sad boy music, to cover the song, as she recently did in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge.
Instead of doubling down on the song’s darkness, Halsey renders it a soft ballad, singing it with only the accompaniment of a gentle guitar. Unlike Anderson .Paak’s sneering, tongue-in-cheek, pop-punk take on the Juice WRLD track, Halsey’s is frail and quiet. It’s in keeping with the singer’s recent stripped-down approach following her newest single, the heart-rending “Without Me,” a diaristic cataloging of her relationship with G-Eazy.
At this past weekend’s EMA, she ended her performance literally soaked and chained to a post, so yeah. Things are getting pretty intense in Halsey’s
world WRLD. “Lucid Dreams” shows that, as does “Without Me,” which she also performed in the studio.
Check out Halsey taking on Juice WRLD above, then get to know the man himself via MTV’s Push campaign for the month of November. Find all the good stuff right here.