Lil Peep in 2016
Gustav Elijah Åhr
November 1, 1996
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||November 15, 2017 (aged 21)|
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Cause of death||Accidental fentanyl–alprazolam (Xanax) overdose|
|Origin||Long Beach, New York, U.S.|
Gustav Elijah Åhr (November 1, 1996 – November 15, 2017), known professionally as Lil Peep (often stylized as LiL PEEP), was an American rapper, singer, songwriter and model. He was known for helping pioneer an emo revival style of hip hop and rock music.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised on Long Island, New York, Lil Peep started releasing music on SoundCloud in 2014, using the pseudonym Lil Peep because his mother had called him "Peep" since he was a child. He soon became popular on SoundCloud after releasing several mixtapes and for his collaborations with Lil Tracy, leading him to gain a cult following. He released his debut album, Come Over When You're Sober, on August 15, 2017. Following Lil Peep's death, Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1 entered the Billboard 200 at No. 168 and in the following week peaked at No. 38. Lil Peep earned his highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2018 with "Falling Down", featuring XXXTentacion, which peaked at 13th. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on November 8, 2018, making it Lil Peep's first gold certification. His second studio album, Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2, was released on November 9, 2018 and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, making it Lil Peep's first US top 10 album.
Lil Peep was a frequent user of drugs due to his mental health issues, which ultimately caused his death on November 15, 2017. The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner certified the cause of death to be an accidental fentanyl–alprazolam overdose, the latter of which was branded as Xanax.
Gustav Elijah Åhr was born on November 1, 1996, in Allentown, Pennsylvania to first-grade teacher Liza Womack and college professor Karl Johan Åhr. He had one sibling, Karl "Oskar" Åhr. Åhr grew up on Long Island, New York. His parents were both Harvard graduates who divorced when he was a teenager. Åhr was of Irish descent on his mother's side, and Swedish and German descent on his father's side. He claimed to have Swedish citizenship on Twitter.
Growing up, Åhr's father was absent and his upbringing was "apathetic and drug-fuelled" with his father and mother divorcing formally when Åhr was 14. He attended Lindell Elementary School and then Long Beach High School in Lido Beach, New York, which he rarely attended in spite of good grades and was on the deans list for the time he attended. He later dropped out of the high school and took online courses to earn his diploma. Shortly thereafter, he began posting his music on YouTube and SoundCloud.
When Åhr was 17, he got his first face tattoo, a broken-heart below his left eye to help motivate him to make music before he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, under the pseudonym Lil Peep. Åhr stated that his reason for moving out to Los Angeles was due to feeling depressed living in Long Island.
When Lil Peep was a teenager, he called himself a loner who made a majority of his friends online. Inspired by underground acts like Seshhollowaterboyz and iLoveMakonnen. Peep was making music whilst residing in Long Island under the pseudonym "Trap Goose" and lived temporarily with childhood friend Brennan Savage until both decided to move to Los Angeles.
Lil Peep left high school early to move to Los Angeles and meet up with online friends. Initially living in Skidrow, Los Angeles and dipping in and out of homelessness, staying in Brennan Savage's apartment whilst Savage pursued a degree, the two went separate ways and Peep eventually met up with Memphis producer JGRXXN and Florida rappers Ghostemane and Craig Xen, living with them while forming the collective Schemaposse. According to Lil Peep, he originally met Craig Xen online and was introduced to JGRXXN who needed a singer. Lil Peep also attempted to attend Glendale Community College during his first year living in Los Angeles. In 2015, Lil Peep released his first mixtape, Lil Peep Part One, which generated 4,000 plays in its first week. Shortly thereafter, he released his first extended play, Feelz, and another mixtape, Live Forever. Lil Peep began to grow in popularity soon after, with the song "Star Shopping" (later released as a single following his death) from Lil Peep Part One making waves in underground hip-hop circles. Lil Peep's popularity continued to grow after the release of the song "Beamer Boy" which led to him performing live for the first time with the rest of Schemaposse in March 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. The following month, Schemaposse broke up and Lil Peep was not associated with any collective though they remained on good terms. Shortly after the breakup of Schemaposse, Peep remained living in Skidrow, Los Angeles though he had began to associate with Los Angeles-based rap collective, Gothboiclique, featuring members of the group on his full-length mixtape Crybaby. The group shared a squat in Skidrow with Peep and often shared beds. According to Lil Peep, Crybaby was recorded within the space of three days with an $150 microphone. He did a majority of the mixing and mastering himself. Crybaby was released in June 2016.
In addition to providing business guidance, co-founder/CEO, Sarah Stennett, was also a friend who gave both moral and financial support - helping Peep realize his vision. In September 2016, Lil Peep released Hellboy. Songs from Hellboy such as "Girls" and "OMFG" began to clock in millions of views and plays on SoundCloud and YouTube. The success from Hellboy led to Peep going on his first ever solo tour across the United States, called "The Peep Show" tour, starting in April 2017 and ending in May 2017. In May 2017, the band Mineral accused Peep of copyright infringement for including an unlicensed and uncredited sample of their song "LoveLetterTypewriter" in his "Hollywood Dreaming" track. Peep said that he was only trying to "show some love" with the sample.
Soon after the tour was done, Peep emigrated to London, England during a disentanglement with his collective Gothboiclique. In London, Peep began to associate with a new set of people encompassing of figures such as Atlanta rapper iLoveMakonnen and long-term friend Bexey (fka Bexey Swan.) Whilst living in London, Peep recorded Come Over When You're Sober Pt, 1 and Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2, an EP entitled Goth Angel Sinner and an untitled project with iLoveMakonnen. Peep released his debut studio album Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1 on August 15, 2017. Lil Peep also announced and took part in his first World tour, starting in the UK in September and moving to Germany before finishing in the United States in November which was cut short due to his untimely death.
After his death, Lil Peep's fanbase and popularity grew quickly which resulted in a significant increase in sales and streams of his music. The single "Awful Things" from Come Over When You're Sober, Part One charted, becoming his first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 79.
Due to Peep's prolific work rate, a number of songs and projects were completed prior to his death. The first official posthumous release arrived within twenty-four hours of his death, as Wiggy, a director of many of Peep's music videos, released the official video for a then-unreleased song "16 Lines". On January 12, 2018, Marshmello officially released a collaboration entitled "Spotlight". The subsequent video for "Spotlight" was released on February 12, 2018. On January 15, 2018, rapper Juicy J released the song "Got 'Em Like", which featured Lil Peep and Wiz Khalifa. On January 27, 2018, SoundCloud rapper Teddy released a song collaboration with Lil Peep entitled "Dreams & Nightmares".
In March 2018, Peep's music archive was acquired by Columbia Records. On May 13, 2018, a posthumous single, "4 Gold Chains", featuring Clams Casino, was released as well as a music video. A collaboration album between Peep and rapper iLoveMakonnen is expected to be released on Makonnen's label Warner Bros. On August 17, 2018, Makonnen announced a new Lil Peep single titled "Falling Down", a reworking of "Sunlight on Your Skin" that he recorded with Peep in the fall of 2017 in London. The new version features recently deceased rapper XXXTentacion, who recorded his verses following Peep's death. The "Falling Down" single was released on September 19, 2018 and peaked at 13th on the Billboard 200. The original "Sunlight on Your Skin" version was released on September 27, 2018. The release date for the album collaboration has yet to be revealed.
On October 14, 2018, Lil Peep's estate revealed that his first posthumous project, Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2 was finished in September 2018 and Lil Peep's executive producer for the project, Smokeasac confirmed that the project was just awaiting approval from Lil Peep's family. On October 17, 2018, Lil Peep's estate confirmed on his social media that the lead single from Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2, "Cry Alone" was getting released on October 18, 2018. Following the release of "Cry Alone", Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2 was announced to be released on November 9, 2018. On November 1, 2018, the second single from the album titled "Runaway" was officially released. On November 7, 2018, the third single "Life is Beautiful" - a remix of the track "Life" from the Feelz EP - was released.
Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2 was released on November 9, 2018 and debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 with 81,000 album-equivalent units (including 43,000 pure album sales), making it Lil Peep's first US top 10 album. Following the release, rumours circulated of Lil Peep's archive being big enough for a Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 3 however executive producer Smokeasac labelled the rumour as "bullshit", but instead said there was still more unreleased music left.
On January 31, 2019, the first single from the upcoming collaboration album with ILoveMakonnen, titled "I've Been Waiting" and featuring Fall Out Boy, was released. The song was originally a demo by ILoveMakonnen and Peep then performed on it, spawning a partnership which created up to twenty songs. Fall Out Boy was added to the song after Peep's death.
Lil Peep had been into fashion since his teenage years and during the last months of his life he modelled for Vlone, and was invited to and attended several fashion shows such as Balmain men's show at Paris Fashion Week and Moncler Gamme Bleu MFW Mens Spring Summer show in Milan. Nico Amarca of Hypebeast said “even though Peep’s brand of trendy sits on a far more niche spectrum than most modern-day tastemakers, something that largely attributed to his success. In a time where genuine individuality is becoming increasingly obsolete, Peep was the tattoo-covered, Manic Panic-hued mall rat the creative world needed to disrupt its ever-growing homogeny." Rapper Playboi Carti described Lil Peep as a "trendsetter".
In late 2018, it was announced that a Lil Peep clothing line was being created called "No Smoking" (stylized as "NO SMOK!NG") which was developed before Lil Peep's death.
Lil Peep was described as making lo-fi rap, being an "emo-trap heart throb" and an "emo rapper". New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica defined Peep as the Kurt Cobain of lo-fi rap and described his music as gloomy and diabolically melodic. Lil Peep's music generally drew on both Southern rap and the angsty introspection of the rock subgenre post-hardcore. He said that he wanted to become the "New Kurt Cobain". Lil Peep's lyrical themes include topics such as depression, drug use, past relationships, and suicidal thoughts and meshes together third-wave emo, alternative rock, pop-punk and dream pop with trap music and hip-hop. A close friend and the executive producer of Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1 said that Peep "wanted give a voice to people that suffer from anxiety and depression, people who have been abused, bullied, and the people who were misunderstood like him. He had demons of his own and he faced those demons by creating music." AllMusic described his music as a blend of hip hop and rock influences along with trap, punk, and dream pop. He had also been described as the future of emo by Steven J. Horowitz of online magazine Pitchfork.
Before the release of his first album, he mentioned Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Frank Ocean and Riff Raff as inspirations, and wanted to be known as the "Kurt Cobain of Rap". Lil Peep also cited Anthony Kiedis as his idol. His other musical influences include Gucci Mane, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Future, Crystal Castles, Seshollowaterboyz, Rozz Dyliams, My Chemical Romance and Panic! at the Disco. His songs have sampled such artists as Blink-182, Pierce the Veil, Brand New, Radiohead, Underoath, Three Days Grace, Avenged Sevenfold, Slayer, The Postal Service, Oasis and The Microphones.
On November 15, 2017, Lil Peep was found dead on his tour bus when his manager went to check on him in preparation for that night's performance at a Tucson, Arizona venue. Foul play was not suspected, with his death believed to be from an overdose. In a series of Instagram posts in the hours leading up to his death, Lil Peep claimed to have ingested psilocybin mushrooms and cannabis concentrate. In another, he claimed to have consumed six Xanax pills following a video depicting his attempts to drop an unidentified pill into his mouth several times before successfully swallowing one and shaking a full prescription bottle. A subsequent post was captioned "When I die, you'll love me." In the days after his death, a police report revealed that Lil Peep had taken a nap around 5:45 p.m. before the concert. His manager checked on him twice and found him sleeping and breathing fine, but was unable to wake him. When the manager checked on Lil Peep a third time, he was unresponsive and not breathing. Lil Peep's manager performed CPR before medics arrived, though he was pronounced dead at the scene. Lil Peep's death was recorded on Snapchat by his friend Bexey Swan, who believed Lil Peep was asleep. On December 8, the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner released details from a toxicology report, certifying the cause of death was an accidental overdose due to the effects of the pain medication fentanyl and the benzodiazepine alprazolam. Blood tests tested positive for cannabis, cocaine and the painkiller Tramadol. Urine tests also showed the presence of multiple powerful opiates, including hydrocodone, hydromorphone (dilaudid), oxycodone and oxymorphone. There was no alcohol in his system.
Numerous artists in the music industry paid tribute to Lil Peep following his death, including XXXTentacion, Diplo, Post Malone, Pete Wentz, Marshmello, Mark Ronson, Zane Lowe, Sam Smith, Bella Thorne, Trippie Redd, A$AP Nast, Rich Brian, Playboi Carti, Ugly God, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Xan, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Pump, Dua Lipa, and El-P. Jon Caramanica, a music critic for the New York Times, held a special remembrance podcast episode to honor Peep following his death which was released on November 22, 2017. Good Charlotte also honored Lil Peep, releasing a cover of "Awful Things", which was shown at his memorial in Long Beach, New York on December 2, 2017. Three Days Grace paid tribute by posting a video on Instagram and Twitter of a remix of Peep's song "Witchblades" featuring Lil Tracy. The remixed song's beat was a slowed down instrumental track of the band's song, "The Real You". Lil Peep would be mentioned by Juicy J (who had collaborated with him before his death) on Rae Sremmurd's Powerglide. Lil Peep was also honored during the 60th Grammy Awards. On June 19, 2018, rapper Juice WRLD released a two-song EP titled Too Soon.. dedicated to him and XXXTentacion, the latter being involved in a homicide relating to robbery.
Lil Peep was cremated at Huntington Station, New York and his ashes were placed in his grandfather's garden. On December 2, 2017, friends, family and fans to pay their respects to Lil Peep at his memorial in Long Beach, New York. A memorial was also held in London on the same day as a large picture of Lil Peep was projected onto the side of the Houses of Parliament in central London.
Legacy and influence
Lil Peep was described as "the future of emo" by Pitchfork, was known for being part of a "post-emo revival style of hip hop and rock", and had been described as "arguably the biggest emo icon of the past few years" Regarding his death, in January 2018 John Jeremiah Sullivan of GQ wrote, "When Lil Peep died late last year, he left behind an outsized legacy." To Genius journalist, Chris Merch, his death marked 'just the latest in a long line of high-profile musicians who died young'. Rolling Stone journalist Elias Leight concurred similarly and wrote that Lil Peep's "rise to stardom was powered by relentless drive."
Known for his more emo and punk rock approach to his craft, adding problems that he dealt with such as depressing themes reflecting on nihilism, heartbreak, and drug usage into his work, Lil Peep's reputation was to be considered different. He incorporated a "resurgence of rap-rock" with his adaption of using hard guitar rifts into his music and being a part of the emergence of Emo rap and his name remains, for the center part, around the evolving amount of new rappers on the platform SoundCloud, as an inspiration for them even as his music was considered by many as 'underground'.
Lil Peep came out as bisexual on a Twitter post in August 2017; around this time he was dating the actress and singer Bella Thorne. While on the Come Over When You're Sober tour, he had met and started dating Instagram influencer, Arzaylea Rodriguez around the time of his death in November. 
Lil Peep had a close relationship with his mother, going so far as to tattoo her initials and birthday on his arm as his first tattoo at the age of fourteen. He played the trombone and tuba and expressed an interest in music and fashion from a young age. At the time of his death, Lil Peep was residing in Portobello Road, London with his friend and close collaborator, Bexey and Smokeasac. The move was provoked by Peep's need to escape his circumstances and his then-collective GOTHBOICLIQUE.
Lil Peep actively talked about his issues with depression, anxiety and substance abuse and stated that he had bipolar disorder, saying in an interview with Pitchfork "I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Fuck, I wish I didn’t wake up’" and saying to Vice "I have horrible anxiety, that's why I took Xanax before this interview." In his final interview before his death with Zane Lowe, Peep confessed that his depression was getting worse saying "Things just get worse. Things already get worse and worse and worse every day." Lil Peep regularly referenced addictions to cocaine, ecstasy and Xanax in his lyrics and posts on social media, where he described himself as a "productive junkie" and advised his audience to avoid drug use.
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