By Nick Faber ’18
Rapper Lil Peep (born Gustav Åhr) died on November 15, 2017, due to an apparent drug overdose on what is believed to be the prescription pill Xanax. One of the biggest stars in the new and cloudy sub-genre of hip hop, namely called emo hip hop, he gained prominence with his mixtape Hellboy and his recently released album Come Over When You’re Sober. Lil Peep was mourned by the hip hop community with artists like Post Malone and Lil B sending their prayers condolences to his friends and family.
Gaining prominence from Soundcloud, Lil Peep was no ordinary artist. Deriving many of his influences from early to late 2000’s emo bands like Paramore and Panic! at the Disco, Peep began to form a new form of hip hop. This is interesting in itself, as no other genre of music has broken into so many different caveats and categories like hip hop has.
Emo Hip Hop may have started with the rise of Kanye West and Drake, as both superstars opened up the flood gates of emotion with songs like ‘Heartless’ and ‘Marvins Room’ respectively.
As hip hop became more popular in the mid-2010’s, we saw even more emotional lyrics from artists like Mac Miller and J Cole. But with these raw and emotional lyrics came a rise in prescription drug usage. (These two have very little direct connection to each other, rather they both came to prominence in the same time period.)
“Prescription pain relievers is a serious global problem that affects… between 26.4 million and 36 million people… worldwide,” said Nora D. Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2014.
Of course, celebrities are no strangers to this global issue, as rap is no stranger to drug abuse in general. A majority of rappers that scratch the mainstream write lyrics about drugs, whether praising them or condemning them.
Lil Peep was very vocal and apparent with his opioid usage. There has been no clear reason as to the cause of his addiction, but opioids are highly addictive and it can be hard to break free from those chains.
Although ’emo’ may have a social connection to ‘depressed’ or ‘dark’, Lil Peep’s brother Karl Ahr, in an interview with PEOPLE Magazine, believes that his overdose was, “…an accident… He was super happy with where he was in life.” Lil Peep’s Instagram is overflowing with smiles with fans, weird faces, and pictures of his friends.
At only 21 years old, Lil Peep has already made a profound impact on hip hop as a genre, and his influence will only continue to grow. His death is hard for the hip hop community as days after his death, people are still coming out in his support, sending their thoughts and prayers. He will be missed.
Opioid Addiction is no joke. If you or somebody that you know is struggling with opioid addiction, please call 1-877-753-7813.