Lil Peep, the New York rapper who mixed guitar-driven emo and rap production on mixtapes that gained millions of plays on SoundCloud, died Wednesday night at age 21. A representative for the rapper confirmed his death to Rolling Stone. According to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (via Pitchfork), the rapper is suspected to have died of a drug overdose.
"I am shocked and heartbroken," said Sarah Sennett – the CEO of First Access Entertainment, a management and publishing company that partnered with Lil Peep last year – in a statement. "I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic. He had big goals and dreams for the future which he had shared with me, his team, his family and his friends. He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing."
"I've been expecting this call for a year," the rapper's manager Chase Ortega tweeted. "Mother fuck."
Born Gustav Åhr on November 1st, 1996 in Long Island, New York and raised in Long Beach, Åhr dropped out of high school and completed his GED through computer courses before moving to Los Angeles. "I moved out here straight out of high school thinking I was going to pay rent with this SoundCloud rap career I had going on," Lil Peep told Pitchfork in 2016. "But it turned out I couldn’t really do that yet. So I had to go back [to Long Island]." He soon returned to the West Coast and recorded some of his best-known material in his apartment in L.A.
He released his debut, Lil Peep Part One, through Bandcamp in December of 2015: The project mixed languorous guitars, bracing, often bleak lyrics – "I got a feeling that I'm not gonna be here for next year," he sang on "The Way I See Things" – and trap drums. Åhr continued to refine this sound on a series of releases; the latest, Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1., arrived in August.
Peep was hailed as a young artist reviving emo for a hip-hop age. Åhr described his sound as "a whole new thing." "It's good for the emo genre as a whole and all the fans and all the people who ever liked it, because it’s going to keep it relevant," he added. "It's just adapting to the new sounds that people want to listen to when they hop in the car and shit."
Even as he accumulated millions of streams across platforms, Åhr admitted that he struggled with drug use and suicidal thoughts. "I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, Fuck, I wish I didn’t wake up," he told Pitchfork. "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."
As news of his death spread, rockers, producers and rappers remembered Lil Peep on Twitter. "Lil Peep forever," wrote Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. "Peep had so much more to do, man; he was constantly inspiring me," Diplo added. Chart-topper Post Malone posted a photo with Peep and added, "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."
The British Houses of Parliament projected a huge image of Lil Peep's in honor of the rapper who lived in London this past year. Peep was also mourned by hundreds of fans at a ceremony held in Long Beach, New York.
Lil Peep - "Crybaby"
Lil Peep - "Kiss"
Lil Peep - "Benz Truck"