The death of Lil Peep

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Singer, rapper, model, style icon, innovator – Gustav Åhr, known more commonly as Lil Peep, has died aged 21.

16/11/17: the world awoke to the news that Lil Peep had died; twitter blew up with tributes to the star and it was clear the tragedy had left a dent in the online community. The likes of notable music icons such as Post Malone, Sam Smith, Charlie XCX and Diplo all showed their condolences in heart felt messages on their pages, but no amount of characters could undo the pain felt by his many fans.

His manager, Chase Ortega, broke the news via twitter, saying “I’ve been expecting this call or a year, Mother Fuck.” The ambiguity of such hinting, what many have come to assume, that his death was caused by a drug overdose.

Lil Peep truly was an innovator. He redefined the arguably dying genre of ‘emo’, combining melodic hip hop beats with juxtaposing melancholic lyrics, tying two distinct subcultures, pioneering a new wave of stylings.

“Everything that shouldn’t work together, he made work,” said a fan.

One of the many tragedies involved with his death is the fact that it’s very possible we will never get to experience this style, at least the way Peep cultivated it, again. Clearly many wannabes will try and fill this artist’s space, claiming their styles are original and progressive for the culture, but Lil Peep was an anomaly of whom will never be replaced. He was a beautifully unconventional combination of influences: David Bowie, Frank Ocean, My Chemical Romance and Gucci Mane to name a few. But it worked.

“I’d love to be the new Kurt Cobain.” – A tragic success for the young star, now deemed as the “lo-fi rap’s Kurt Cobain.”

His music often referenced relationships, drug abuse, addiction, depression and suicide. It begs the question, why did nobody step in? Why did his death have to happen, despite the clear cries for help? On the days leading up to his death his Instagram, of which he was incredibly active, was littered with sinister captions, which in retrospect are blatant warning signs. Alongside these, videos of the rapper were posted taking Xanax, an addictive pharmaceutical drug, only a day before his death.

A rising theme in opinion regarding the artist’s death is the fact that he did indeed have so much potential. In the least cliché way possible, I agree. As the pioneer of this new wave of emo/hip-hop styling, Lil Peep had a whole career of leading a movement in modern music and this was taken from him at only 21. He had barely experienced life, both literally and musically. Peep had released several mixtapes in the past few years, including his first ‘Lil Peep Part One’ and his 2016 break-through ‘Crybaby’, however he only released his debut album ‘Come Over When You’re Sober’ in August of this year. He barely scraped the surface of his potential, he was just facing the beginning of, what could have been, a successful career. Despite this, we have to hold on to the fact that although Peep is gone, his music will continue to inspire existing and potential artists across the industry

Lil Peep was also recognized as an LGBT+ icon, openly admitting to his fans on twitter that he was bisexual this summer. Being open about his sexuality in a music culture criticized for its focus on hyper-masculinity and the objectification of women was an incredibly brave act. This has hopefully had an impact on challenging these rigid stereotypes within the subculture of hip-hop.

He was and still will be a great source of strength for his fans, and as community we shouldn’t let his passing impact his undying influence in music, fashion and culture.


Words by Megan Drew

Edited by Maisie Green

Khushi and Hannah are your entertainment editors

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