The Legacy of ‘Lil Peep’

The Lil Peep Documentary Tells a Familiar Story, but That Doesn't Make It  Less Sad - The Ringer

GROWING PAINS

Gustav Elijah Ahr, also known as ‘lil peep’ was a Swedish-american rapper/singer. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 1st 1996. His father, Karl Johan Ahr, was a university professor while his mother Liza Womack was a school teacher. As a child, Gus witnessed discord between his mother and father and when he was 14, they divorced. Throughout his childhood, Gus had issues with socialising and usually just interacted with friends online. He did well academically but did not like to attend school as he was an introvert, his teachers described him as a “gifted student” who got good grades despite poor attendance. Gus ended up dropping out of school and doing a few online courses to complete his high school diploma. By this point, he had an interest in making music and began to upload his music on YouTube and Soundcloud.

THE BEGINNING

By the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in music. This is where he acquired the stage name ‘Lil Peep’. He ran out of his savings after a few months and had to spend some nights without anywhere to stay. Things began to look up when he met music producer JGRXXN and rappers such as Ghostemane and Craig Xen, he began to spend a lot of time with them and eventually became part of the collective named ‘Schemaposse’. Shortly after this he released his debut mixtape ‘Lil Peep part one’ on soundcloud in 2015, it was a slow start with the album only being played 4,000 times in it’s first week but then it began to gain hits. After this he released an EP titled ‘Feelz’ and another mixtape titled ‘Live forever’. At the beginning, his music wasn’t very successful because it was such a unique and new sound. It had hints of punk, pop and trap music and the lyrics were typically quite gloomy, which was critiqued.

PROGRESSION

‘Star shopping’ a single from peep’s mixtape, slowly became very successful, however he achieved real success after the release of ‘beamer boy’, this led him to his first concert with the group ‘Schemaposse’ in Arizona. The group eventually split up as they individually gained success, however there was no bad blood and they did continue to work together from time to time.

PEAK OF SUCCESS

Peep moved on to another rap collection ‘gothboiclique’ where he released his debut full length mix tape ‘Crybaby’ in 2016. He said that the entire album was produced in 3 days, recorded on a cheap microphone as the group didn’t have a lot of money. This was the beginning of his main success, he gained more and more success with songs such as ‘Hellboy’, ‘OMFG’ and ‘Girls’, which all became extremely popular. On August 15th 2017, ‘Come over when you’re sober’ the debut album was released. The album peaked at number 38 on the charts and peep announced a tour, however, tragedy struck in the middle of this tour and he passed away.

THE DEATH OF LIL PEEP

Gus suffered with depression his whole life and had always described himself as a ‘loner’. This was the reason for his ‘crybaby’ tattoo. Even after his success, his mental health was still a burden on him, which he tended to express through his lyrics. Peep also indulged in heavy drug use, which ended fatally. On November 15th 2017, his manager found him dead in his tour bus. He’d gone to take a nap in the bus at around 5pm, after a third attempt to wake him up, the manager found him not breathing, after examination, it was confirmed that his death was due to a drug overdose. Following his death, several of his unreleased songs were brought to the public, including ‘awful things’, ‘Spotlight’, ‘Dreams & Nightmares’, ‘4 Gold chains’ and ‘Falling down’. Columbia records acquired his songs after his demise. His music is still successful to this day, and the icon of ‘Lil Peep’ is still alive thanks to his family, friends and loyal fans.

EVERYBODY’S EVERYTHING

in 2019, 3 years after his death, a film was released documenting Gus’s life and death. Watch the trailer here;

Ellie Byrne