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Lil Peep: The Rapper Who Pioneered Emo-Influenced Hip Hop

Full Name Gustav Elijah Åhr
Birthday November 1, 1996
Age at Death 21 Years
Death Date November 15, 2017
Born Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States
Associated Acts GothBoiClique
Genres Emo Rap, Hip Hop, Alternative Rock
Social Media Instagram

Lil Peep was an American rapper and singer-songwriter who was a pioneering artist in the emo rap genre. Born Gustav Elijah Åhr, Peep grew up in Long Beach, New York and was associated with the hip hop collective GothBoiClique. His confessional, genre-bending music touched on themes of depression, drug use, past relationships, and suicidal thoughts. Lil Peep is credited with helping bring emo rap into the mainstream and paving the way for many of today‘s artists.

Early Life and Introduction to Music

Lil Peep was born on November 1, 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania and moved to Long Beach, New York at a young age with his family. His parents were both academics who taught at Harvard University. Peep showed interest in music from childhood, teaching himself instruments like the trombone, tuba, and piano.

In high school, Peep formed a band called Goons with friends. Though it wasn‘t serious at the time, it marked his introduction to recording original music and songwriting. After graduating in 2015, Peep decided to pursue music fully, adopting the name Lil Peep. He released his first tracks on SoundCloud, blending southern rap with emo and punk influences. This distinctive hybrid sound would become the blueprint for Peep‘s emerging style.

Rise to Fame with Come Over When You‘re Sober

Peep built an online fanbase off his early SoundCloud releases like "feelz" and "veins." In 2015, he released his first mixtape Lil Peep Part One in collaboration with Lil Tracy on SoundCloud. This gained the attention of independent label First Access Entertainment. Peep signed with them and began releasing music videos to YouTube, growing his fanbase.

The highlight of Peep‘s blossoming career was his debut album Come Over When You‘re Sober, Pt. 1 released in August 2017. It gained widespread critical acclaim and peaked at #38 on the Billboard 200 chart. Songs like "Awful Things" and "Save That Shit" resonated with fans through vulnerable lyrics exploring depression and suicidal thoughts over hip hop/rock fusion production. The album‘s popularity cemented Peep as a leader of the burgeoning emo rap scene.

Pioneering Emo-Rap Style and Aesthetic

Lil Peep‘s genre-bending production involved hypnotic, melancholic beats that fused hip hop, emo, punk, and dream pop influences. His vocals incorporated melodic rap-singing and heavily distorted production. Peep also promoted a distinctive aesthetic, with dyed hair, face tattoos, and vintage/punk inspired fashion.

The term "emo rap" existed before Peep, but his fresh fusion of sounds took the genre to new heights. He pushed boundaries sonically and visually, paving the way for today‘s emo-rap acts. Artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD, and XXXTentacion have all cited him as a major influence. As Juice WRLD put it, "Peep was the first one to really blow up off that sound."

His Enduring Legacy

Tragically, Lil Peep passed away at 21 years old on November 15, 2017 due to an accidental drug overdose while on tour promoting Come Over When You‘re Sober. The news devastated fans and ignited countless tributes from the music community. However, Peep‘s legacy has endured through posthumous releases like Come Over When You‘re Sober, Pt. 2 (2018) and Everybody‘s Everything (2019), a documentary on his life.

Though his career was short-lived, Lil Peep forever changed the face of hip hop. His honest portrayal of mental health issues and seamless fusion of rock and rap opened the floodgates for today‘s emo rap acts. Peep still feels painfully close due to the raw, confessional nature of works like Come Over When You‘re Sober. His unique artistry and aesthetic will continue inspiring artists and fans for years to come.