Nicki Minaj has hailed Juice WRLD as her “kindred spirit”, after she went on the road with the late rapper.
The rapper, real name Jared Anthony Higgins, died following a “medical emergency” at Chicago airport on Sunday (December 8) after he reportedly suffered a seizure.
- READ MORE: Juice WRLD – the NME Obituary
US authorities later confirmed that Higgins had been given the opioid antidote Narcan shortly before he died.
Speaking at Billboard‘s Women In Music event yesterday (December 12), Minaj explained how Higgins was able to provide a calming effect as the pair toured together.
“I recently had the pleasure of working and touring with Juice WRLD,” she said.
“I had a great conversation with him one day and while we walked to the stage he held my hand and told me to stay calm and to pray. He said he had been trying to do just that. I was shocked to hear him of all people tell me that, but right there in that moment with him telling me that, I actually did feel calm and I felt like, ‘Hm, what am I actually worried about?'”
Minaj, who was also thought to be working on a track with the rapper, added: “I felt like he was a kindred spirit, and looking back now, I wish I did something differently or said something to help.
“He spoke to me in detail about how in love he was with his girlfriend and how passionate he was about music. And when he was in the studio with me he did so many songs so quickly. He was honest and pure about what he felt and that inspired me.”
After offering her condolences to Higgins’ family, Minaj urged addressed the late rapper’s drug addiction, commenting: “It’s so important that we don’t pass judgment so that people don’t feel ashamed to speak up and ask for help.”
This comes after the rapper’s family broke their silence on his death and confirmed that the 21-year-old was battling an addiction to prescription drugs.
“We loved Jarad with all of our hearts and cannot believe our time with him has been cut short,” they said.
“As he often addressed in his music and to his fans, Jarad battled with prescription drug dependency.
“Addiction knows no boundaries and its impact goes way beyond the person fighting it. Jarad was a son, brother, grandson, friend and so much more to so many people who wanted more than anything to see him defeat addiction.”
Since his death, fans have continued to pay tribute to the late star as his music rose to the US top spots on Amazon Music, Apple and Spotify.
Meanwhile, tributes have continued to pour in from the likes of Sting – whose 1993 track ‘Shape of My Heart’ was reworked to create Juice WRLD’s hit ‘Lucid Dreams’.