Gustav Åhr, better known as escalating alternative hip hop artist Lil Peep, has passed away at the age of 21. On November 15, 2017, reports of Peep being passed out on his tour bus in Tucson, Arizona arose before a scheduled show. Adam22 of No Jumper and also close friend of Peep later shared on Twitter about receiving word of Peep in the hospital due to overdosing. Sources claim that Peep overdosed on fake Xanax laced with a pain narcotic called Fentanyl, which is said to be deadlier than heroin. The story is still under development.
He was known to be an inspiration to many people struggling with drugs and their sexuality. Peep knew how to break down musical barriers and lodge himself in the hearts and minds of teenagers. His musical aesthetic fused genres together in such an unorthodox way it sometimes scared people off. Peep poured his heart out in his music, giving the most unrelatable people with issues something to relate to. Today in hip-hop, an emo movement has moved its way into the genre, and while the cry for help may have a catchy tone to it, it cannot be ignored. Although Peep’s presence in the music world was very short lived, with only making music for two years, his cult following was one of the most loyal in modern hip-hop. His individual take on music will be remembered and our condolences are with his family, friends, and fans.
The senseless deaths of many great artists trace back to the horrific topic of substance abuse. It seems when someone loses their life due to overdosing it will temporarily shock the world. The issue eventually gets swept under the rug or forgotten about so people continue to risk their lives just to get a “feel”. Substance abuse is nothing new, especially in rap culture where popping pills and consuming different types of pharmaceuticals is the norm, so it’s especially disturbing that there is a continuous glamorization of drugs in music considering the amount of people harmed by misusing it. Unfortunately this is trickling down on our youth, giving them this distorted impression that it’s cool to pop Xanax and drink lean. These vices are incorporated in the music industry as a whole so dabbling in the extensive spectrum of drugs that’s circulating isn’t really surprising. However, the manner in which these substances are used leads to questions such as how much is too much and where should the line be drawn?
Signs of substance abuse are most of the time blatantly evident, yet we ignore them and throw around careless jokes that simmer down the severity of it. Peep, just like any of the other artists who died from overdosing, displayed signs. Refer back to his Instagram and you’ll see tabs on his tongue or posts such as “When I die, you’ll love me.” Clearly the rapper was going through some things and had an addiction problem. It takes serious and impactful situations like death to make people stop and actually think about the importance of being there for one another, especially those struggling with addiction.
Maybe some interference from managers such as stepping up to discuss rehabilitation options for these artists would help solve their problem before anything drastic happens. Being an artist can be strenuous and drugs are often seen as relievers or things to keep them going. Sadly, that isn’t the case. In reality it’s just making them depend on drugs which results in them overusing it.
We must not forget the legacy of Lil Peep. It is so easy to get lost in the lesson of things and completely forget about the impact he had on the youth and music. While substance abuse is an everlasting issue, there is no absolute solution to stopping it, but we can become more educated on the subject and be available to our family, friends, or anyone who needs help. Steer them toward a better coping mechanism or help them get assistance with their issue. There are ways to take action rather than sitting around and doing nothing. Don’t let them indulge in their vices so much to the point that it kills them.
Rest in peace Lil Peep, and to all the people who lost their lives due to overdosing.