Lil Peep, the up-and-coming rapper from Long Beach who blended Long Island emo with hip-hop, died Wednesday night in Tucson, Arizona. He was 21.
Born Gustav Ahr in Long Beach, Lil Peep was in the middle of a tour for his debut album “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1,” which he released on his own label in August, and was supposed to perform in Tucson on Wednesday.
In a statement on Facebook, First Access Entertainment CEO Sarah Stennett said she is “shocked and heartbroken.” “I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic,” she wrote. “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.” Stennett said she spoke with the rapper’s mother, who asked her to convey “that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life.”
Stennett did not release information on the cause of his death. But Sgt. Pete Dugan of the Tucson police told the Associated Press that evidence pointed to an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, although no official cause of death has been announced. The rapper was found dead on his tour bus.
Lil Peep began attracting attention with self-produced mixtapes that he posted on SoundCloud in 2015, after he had moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. On his recent tour, he decorated the stage like it was his bedroom to recreate the way most of his songs were written.
Though Lil Peep had moved to Los Angeles, his Long Island roots were still intact. In “Crybaby,” he raps over a sample of “The No Seatbelt Song” from Merrick’s Brand New. In his other songs, he strings together rhymes that seem influenced by the lyrics of Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and other bands from the Long Island music scene of the early Aughts.
Despite that interest, though, in interviews, Lil Peep — who attended Long Beach High School but did not graduate — wasn’t the biggest fan of Long Island. Using a string of expletives, he told the music magazine Fader that Long Beach was one of the worst suburbs ever and that he didn’t get along with many people. “They were like the stereotypical high schoolers from the movies,” he said of his classmates. “It’s hard to find people you [connect] with.”
Exclusive subscription offer
Newsday covers the stories that matter most to Long Islanders. We dig deep to uncover the facts, hold the powerful in check and keep a watchful eye on Long Island.
Your digital subscription, starting at $1, supports local journalism vital to the community.SUBSCRIBE NOW
He also told Fader that not fitting in made him feel depressed and sometimes suicidal.
“I was completely alone,” he told the magazine. “Being suicidal is a weird feeling. You get really reckless. And then in moments where I came really close to doing something stupid, I would go to music for help.”
Even though Lil Peep was just starting his career, he had already made his mark.
“In the short time that I knew you, you were a great friend to me and a great person,” tweeted rapper Post Malone. “Your music changed the world and it’ll never be the same.”
Singer Sam Smith tweeted, “Seeing the news of Lil Peep is so desperately sad.”
DJ/producer Diplo said the news made him ill. “Peep had so much more to do, man,” he tweeted. “He was constantly inspiring me.”
DJ Marshmello said they planned to collaborate. “Peep was the nicest person,” he tweeted. “Hanging out with him, talking to him about music, the song ideas we were going to do together and touring was so amazing. Everyone will miss you man.”