Lil Peep, born Gustav Åhr, known for blending an emo rock style with rap, died late Wednesday night before a show in Tucson, Arizona. He was 21.
Born November 1, 1996 in Pennsylvania, Åhr was raised by his mother in Long Island, New York. At age 15, Åhr dropped out of high school and earned his diploma online. Åhr remained extremely close to his mother throughout his life. At 17, he moved to Los Angeles with his friends.Åhr stepped onto the hip hop scene mainly through YouTube, where his grungy style both musically and visually took strong root. Dubbed the new “Kurt Cobain” of the lo-fi rap scene by New York Times just this past June, Åhr embodied a fresh breath of originality and shameless sense of self. Ahr shows traces of South Florida rap mixed with late 1990s grunge and metal. He had cited his inspirations in a lengthy list that included Gucci Mane, Avenged Sevenfold, Radiohead, Panic! at the Disco, Riff Raff, Crystal Castles, and Seshollowaterboyz.
His first mixtape, released in 2015, was called Lil Peep Part One. Later in 2015, Åhr dropped Feelz and Live Forever. The following year was his breakout year, with two mixtapes entitled Crybaby and Hellboy, released in June and September, respectively. Come Over When You’re Sober (Part I) dropped August 15 of this year.
Throughout summer 2017, Åhr released a number of music videos for “Benz Truck”, “Awful Things”, “Backseat”, “Girls”, “White Wine”, “Gym Class”, “Beamerboy”, “Drugz”, “Live Forever”, “California World”, “Your Eyes”, and “White Tee”. “The Brightside”, the second single from Come Over When You’re Sober (Part I), dropped its music video in late July and can be watched below.
His Instagram and Twitter nameplates read GOTH ANGEL SINNER. Lil Peep maintained his image of a lovable, comical cynic. His music is fueled with angst, loss, and the incredible weight of sadness, but driven by hard-hitting mainstream beats, appealing to all tastes of music.
Åhr was vocal about his struggle with depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and suicidal tendencies in his music and in interviews. He regularly referred to his various usage of drugs, including LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, and anti-anxiety medication Xanax. In an interview with High Snobiety, he said, “I go through a lot…and [what] I write about in my music is real.” He became an image of someone struggling but prospering, creating music with his loyal “Gothboiclique” – his collective group of friends, including his closest, Lil Tracy, with whom he shares two tracks (Castles and Castles II).
Åhr utilized his Twitter to communicate with fans, drop music, and otherwise weigh in on popular issues. But he also used it to share his darker thoughts without hesitation. On his birthday, Nov 1, he tweeted:
On October 24:
On social issues:
And various retweets of dog videos sent by his fans. Lil B mentioned in his condolence tweet that Åhr was vocal against the “sexual abuse of women and people in the music industry,” and that Lil B would do his best to continue the awareness.
Åhr announced also through Twitter that he intended to drop his own clothing line, having shown his interest and dedication to fashion. He recently did a shoot for Vogue, which he tweeted this picture of:
His death rocked even the most veteran of rappers, all of whom supported his craft and his uniqueness. Twitter flooded this morning with condolences from a range of celebrities, including Post Malone, Lil Yachty, Bella Thorne, Ty Dolla $ign, Charli XCX, Sam Smith, and Pete Wentz. He performed in New York City on October 31, and would have continued his Come Over When You’re Sober tour through December.The exact cause of death has not yet been discerned. Come Over When You’re Sober (Part II), a collaboration with Makonnen, was in the works at the time of his passing, along with another album with Fish Narc and projects with Lil B and Clams Casino.
Åhr leaves behind a legacy of complete autonomy, presenting the truest version of himself through music and otherwise. His contributions to post-hardcore rock, lo-fi rap, and melodic hip hop are significant and pivotal for the future of music. Moreover, his upfront nature about his mental illnesses opened many doors for possible discussion and intellectual discourse about these issues that are often considered taboo. Our thoughts are with Åhr’s mother, his friends, and his fans at this difficult time, and we thank him for the art he shared with us in his short life.If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, drug addiction, or suicidal thoughts, please refer to the links and numbers below.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Half of Us
- Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741741
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- The Recovery Village: 1-844-229-2468
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336)