Lil Peep passed away after a concert in Tucson, Arizona last night. He was 21 years old.
Born Gustav Ahr in Long Beach, Long Island, to a college professor father and an elementary teacher mother, Peep had accrued a cult following in the past couple years with a series of releases that blended elements of pop, punk, emo, and rap.
Drawing from a broad array of influences that included Gucci Mane, My Chemical Romance, and Tigers Jaw, Peep’s music made him stand out above the fray in the crowded world of SoundCloud rap.
The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wrote that Peep was, “one of the most promising artists in the current generation emerging from SoundCloud.”
Although Peep’s music had received mixed messages from the music media at large, he maintained that the “The kids get it. But the kids aren’t writing the reviews,” as he told Noisey in July.
Peep had become somewhat of a compelling figure beyond his music with his chameleon hairstyles and tattoos, including “Get Cake Die Young” on his forehead and “Love” tattooed on his stomach with a sad face inside the O.
He had released a variety of mixtapes and Extended Plays since his official debut in 2015, recorded in a bedroom where he lived in LA’s Skid Row, including 2016’s standout Hellboy and a debut studio album Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1, released this August.
Peep’s music often depicted his struggles with depression and drug addiction. He posted videos and pictures of himself taking drugs on social media. Peep told Pitchfork in January about his own battles with depression:
“I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, Fuck, I wish I didn’t wake up. That was part of why I moved to California, trying to get away from the place that was doing that to me, and the people I was around. I realized it was just myself—it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain. Some days I’ll be very down and out, but you won’t be able to tell, really, because I don’t express that side of myself on social media. That’s the side of myself that I express through music. That’s my channel for letting all that shit out.”
Sarah Stennett of First Access Entertainment, a company that had recently worked with Peep, spoke to the artist’s mother and passed along a message to Peep’s fans,
“I’ve spoken to his mother and she asked me to convey that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life.”
His team issued a statement, describing Lil Peep as “highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing.”
After news of Lil Peep’s death in the early hours of Thursday morning, tributes poured in from all corners of the music world.
Seeing the news of Lil Peep is so desperately sad
— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) November 16, 2017
Lil Peep forever❤️ pic.twitter.com/Yng5ABM0UL
— pw (@petewentz) November 16, 2017
I remember Lil peep telling me he is against the sexual abuse of women and people in the music industry… I will continue to push his vision thank you – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) November 16, 2017
lil peep passing is such a tragedy. i remember hearing him for the first time and being so enthralled. love to all his family, friends and fans. we have lost something special. R.I.P.
— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) November 16, 2017
tragic about Lil Peep. 1st time i saw this vid, I got chills. + flashes of what the future of gtr music might b https://t.co/w0XyM3HjuW via
— Mark Ronson (@MarkRonson) November 16, 2017
lil peep was so fucking special and kind but very clearly struggling. talk to your loved ones. have difficult conversations. try and help them to help themselves. look after yourselves today and always. pic.twitter.com/gHV6qr2bWX
— marianne eloise (@marianne_eloise) November 16, 2017
in the short time that i knew you, you were a great friend to me and a great person. your music changed the world and it'll never be the same. i love you bud. forever pic.twitter.com/tpbxpkf4f4
— Beerbongs & Bentleys (@PostMalone) November 16, 2017
— Metro Boomin (@MetroBoomin) November 16, 2017
R.I.P. Lil Peep
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) November 16, 2017
peep had so much more to do man he was constantly inspiring me. I dont feel good man
— diplo (@diplo) November 16, 2017
R.I.P Lil Peep Dawg
— king of the youth (@lilyachty) November 16, 2017
i cant fucking believe this shit man this is a bad dream
— no reason (@slug_christ) November 16, 2017
I've ridiculed Peep's music in the past; I don't consider myself a fan. But he provided many young people – especially young men – with an outlet for coping with depression and addiction that didn't exist in the Soundcloud-Rap world, at least not on a major level
— Zoe Camp (@jzcamp) November 16, 2017
Rest easy Lil Peep.