Independent • 2021

B1GJuice reorients himself and sets out the next stage of his journey with 10K.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes ten thousand hours of quality practice to become an expert in any field. The Beatles, for one,  took 10,000 hours of playing at different clubs in Hamburg before becoming the rock icons that they are today. Although this simple idea may be enough motivation to inspire you to put in the time for yourself, it has been debunked over the years. Even so, there’s still value in putting in the ten thousand reps as long as we recognize that we don’t have to hold ourselves to such an impossible standard. It’s the dedication we put into our passions that’ll guide us into who we want to become. 

As a former football star who underwent heart surgery at 23, Brampton ON’s B1GJuice is no stranger to adversity and having to put in the work. The everyday grind is a daily part of the athlete-turned-rapper’s life. His quest for inner strength and peace of mind comes in the form of 10K, a trap-infused musing of the grind and internal suffering. The journey to 10k may not literally have meant attaining those ten thousand hours, but it proves that perseverance and a change of direction require deep introspection as well as self-love.

On his last EP, SEARCHING.Zip, B1gJuice kicked back a little bit off of some carefree lo-fi. 10K, on the other hand, eliminates any sense of calm. It’s been more than a decade since Kid Cudi released Man On The Moon: The End of Day, a collection of songs that portray black mental health issues. Twelve years later, these struggles have become magnified. Through refined lean-dosed production, B1GJuice grapples with his sanity, flitting back and forth between his pride and his insecurities. On “Be Myself,” he rolls one deep. “I ain’t insecure / I just rather be all by myself / I ain’t into you / I just rather keep it to myself,” he sings in torment. To some, his desire to do it on his own might come off as a little selfish, maybe a little egotistical, but his self-direction to get the bag is really for the homies and his community (“Tryna give my team rings like an owner”). On “Bruce Wayne,” he channels his inner dark knight living in opulence and paranoia. At the end of the track, though, he fights his inner demons: “I be all alone on the go while I get it / I just paid a toll for my soul / I’m losing control feeling low.”

In spite of 10k‘s lyrical peaks and troughs, its music makes for a good workout record (cue the training day montage). With his flow sounding like “water whipping / holy water sipping” (“Dogma”) buried in a deep growl, imagine yourself ballin’ to the bluster of “Dream Team” or pulling a PR on a deadlift to his menacing bark on “Ghosts.” Picture yourself waking up to “Everyday G” as you prepare for a full day of action, maybe “with a blunt to [your] teeth” alongside B1GJuice’s contagious high energy. On “Stranger Things,” he muses on his days playing football in blase fashion. “Used to carry weight like a running back / Took some dubs now I’m done with that / Now I’m spitting dope to a drumming pad,” he raps in proud satisfaction. B1GJuice’s story of early life struggles, triumphant athletic pursuits cut short by a misfortunate injury might sound like your usual trapper-turned-rapper, yet his resilience in the rap game reminds us that one can still achieve success through different avenues.

On closing track “Change,” B1GJuice reorients himself and sets out the next stage of his journey. “Sitting in my wallow, had to swallow my pride / Pill was everlasting, had to take it with time / Answer in a bottle, helluva smoke on my mind / Soul was feeling hallow, I just filled it with rhymes,” he contemplates, realizing that his ego can get in the way, and some soul-searching is still required to rise up from the ashes. It is then that he can acknowledge that his efforts and accomplishments in overcoming his challenges and starting up a totally different ball game shine bright. 10K could represent anything — 10K hours, 10k pages, 10k reps. We will all have our own 10K to face down at some point in our lives. By taking on his own personal 10K, B1GJuice has made himself into the artist he is today.

Jeremy James
“hey, how ya been”