Late rapper Lil Peep continues to make ‘music to cry to’ through posthumous releases

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Lil Peep’s cause of death revealed.

Late rapper Lil Peep continues to make ‘music to cry to’ through posthumous releases  

When Lil Peep crooned, “I’m making music to cry to,” on his third self-released mixtape “Crybaby,” he wasn’t kidding. The late rapper was notorious for embodying the emo-rap sound that has become characteristic of SoundCloud rap in the past couple of years. With his pulsating beats, melancholy vocals and haunting lyrics, Peep’s music hurts so bad it’s good. 

Lil Peep, real name Gustav Elijah Ahr, grew up in Long Island, New York in what he described in an interview with i-D as, “an apathetic and drug-fueled upbringing.” After dropping out of high school and getting his degree online, Ahr moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 with the intentions of becoming a young creative.  

It was out in LA that Ahr began to create emotional hip-hop music and got his first face tattoo; both the genre and tats came to define him as an artist and inspired a slew of other young SoundCloud rappers. In 2015 Peep self-released his first mixtape, “Lil Peep Part One,” and quickly began to build an online following. After four self-published mixtapes, Peep released his debut studio album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1,” in the summer of 2017 by First Access Entertainment and Warner Music Sweden.  

Peep’s music is extremely personal: Each song is like a diary entry being sung aloud by Peep to his audience. Throughout his discography, he discusses his struggles with depression, anxiety, drug abuse and other forms of mental illness. In the i-D interview done just months before his tragic death, Peep said, “I wouldn’t be alive right now without music. It’s got me out of serious drug addiction. It’s got me through suicidal shit, self-harm, the list goes on.” 

All of this makes his untimely death even more heartbreaking. On Nov. 15, 2017, Peep was found dead in his tour bus before his Tucson, Arizona tour show. After an autopsy, it was revealed that the cause of death was an accidental overdose on fentanyl and alprazolam. While those were the fatal drugs, police reports showed that there was a huge cocktail of drugs in Peep’s system.  

Despite his untimely death, a plethora of new music has been released under Lil Peep’s name as recently as this past January, with the release of the single “I’ve Been Waiting,” a collaboration between Peep, ILoveMakonnen and Fall Out Boy. In 2018, Peep’s entire second album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” was released posthumously. ILoveMakonnen has also teased an additional album that was a collaboration between himself and Peep that will most likely be released in the near future. 

All of this new music from Peep brings up a question pertinent to the music industry: How can posthumously published music be published with artist consent? Can it? This dispute came up with the posthumous release of the single “Falling Down,” in which XXXTentacion was featured before his similarly untimely death. “Falling Down” was originally a song entitled “Sunlight On Your Skin,” a collaboration between Peep and ILoveMakonnen.  

XXXTentacion was given the opportunity to add his verse to the song. The track with X’s verse became the more popular of the two singles. However, Peep never heard X’s verse before he passed away, and it’s unclear whether or not he would have gone through with the collaboration in life. Fish Narc, a GothBoiClique producer, wrote this on his Instagram story after the release of “Falling Down”: 

“Peep never heard the Triple X feature, cause it didn’t get made until after he was gone. He explicitly rejected Triple X for his abuse of women. He spent time and money getting Triple X’s songs removed from his Spotify playlist and wouldn’t have co-signed that song.” 

Similarly, long-time Peep collaborator Lil Tracy tweeted out, “they was never even friends didn’t even like each other.” “Falling Down” exemplifies the problem with posthumous publication, as it’s difficult to know whether or not these songs are Peep’s vision or the vision of others. 

Despite controversies, it’s likely that more Lil Peep music will continue to be released posthumously. Listening to his songs now make Peep’s lyrics even more haunting and resonant. Not only did Peep inspire an entire genre of music, he brought awareness to the importance of mental health and expression through said music. While his death was tragic, Peep’s music continues to be a body of work to learn from and love.


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.

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