Lil Peep, or Gustav Elijah Ahr, was an American singer, rapper, and songwriter, best known for his debut studio album, ‘Come Over When You’re Sober.’ He was known as one of the leading artists of the “post-emo revival” style of rock and hip-hop. Both his parents were ‘Harvard University’ graduates. They divorced when Lil Peep was a teenager, and this had a negative impact on his psyche. He described himself through his lyrics and always appeared to be a manic depressive young man and a loner. At the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. He released his debut mixtape, ‘Lil Peep Part One,’ in 2015. Due to the lack of an appropriate record label, he released his debut album online. A song from the album, ‘Beamer Boy,’ became a major hit and brought Lil Peep national fame. After releasing a few more mixtapes, he released his debut studio album in August 2017. It became a critical and commercial success. He passed away due to a drug overdose in November 2017. He was 21 years old at the time of his death.
Childhood & Early Life
Lil Peep was born Gustav Elijah Ahr, on November 1, 1996, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, US, to Liza Womack and Karl Johan Ahr. He was born into a comfortable lifestyle, with both his parents engaged in teaching. His father was a university professor, while his mother was a school teacher. He also had an elder brother.
However, his parents’ education did not promise little Gustav an easy life. As a child, he witnessed discord between his parents. This had a negative impact on his psyche. Soon after he was born, his parents moved to Long Island, New York, which was a relatively new place for Gustav. This move was difficult for him, as Gustav already had socializing issues.
Gustav’s parents divorced when he was 14 years old. This led him to become more introverted. He had a problem talking to people in real life and mostly interacted with his online friends.
Although he was academically good, he did not like to attend school, as he was an introvert. He initially attended ‘Lindell Elementary School,’ followed by ‘Long Beach High School.’ The teachers believed he was a “gifted” student who got good grades despite poor attendance.
Eventually, he dropped out of high school and did a few online courses to finish his high-school diploma. He also completed a few computer courses. By then, he had gained a significant interest in making music and had started uploading his music on ‘YouTube’ and ‘SoundCloud.’
At the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in music.
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In Los Angeles, he assumed the pseudonym “Lil Peep.” He was inspired by underground acts such as the collective ‘Seshhollowwaterboyz’ and the rapper iLoveMakonnen. He ran out of savings within a few months of moving to Los Angeles and spent a few nights without a roof on his head.
He had a lot of friends on social media when he was in New York and he started meeting them one by one, as soon as he reached Los Angeles. Things got better when he got in touch with a music producer named JGRXXN and a few rappers such as Ghostemane and Craig Xen. He also spent most of his time at their homes. In a few months, Lil Peep became part of the collective named ‘Schemaposse.’
With the support from his new group, Lil Peep released his debut mixtape, ‘Lil Peep Part One,’ on ‘SoundCloud’ in 2015. The album received a lukewarm response and was only played four thousand times in its first week. However, it slowly gained a momentum as the “hits” increased.
Shortly after releasing his debut mixtape, he released an EP titled ‘Feelz’ and another mixtape titled ‘Live Forever.’ He did not achieve widespread success immediately because his sound was too unique and did not adhere to a particular genre. It had influences of punk music, dream pop, and trap music. The lyrics were highly expressive and gloomy, which was not appreciated by most listeners and critics.
‘Star Shopping,’ a single from his debut mixtape, became a major success over time. It also became an unexpected success in the underground hip-hop circles. However, he achieved real mainstream success after the release of his single ‘Beamer Boy.’ The immense success of the song led him to embark on his first concert with his group ‘Schemaposse’ in Tucson, Arizona.
As more rappers from the group started attaining success, the group disbanded. However, their relations remained the same and they all worked on each other’s future projects from time to time.
Lil Peep moved on and joined another rap collective named ‘Gothboiclique.’ With them, he released his debut full-length mixtape, ‘Crybaby,’ in mid-2016. Speaking about the recording process, Lil Peep said that the entire album was produced in three days, and since they had no money, his voice had been recorded on a cheap microphone.
This was the beginning of true mainstream success for Lil Peep. The release of another mixtape, ‘Hellboy,’ earned him wider popularity. His songs were released on ‘YouTube’ and ‘SoundCloud’ and earned millions of “views” and “hits.” Two songs from ‘Hellboy,’ titled ‘OMFG’ and ‘Girls,’ became immensely successful.
He was dragged into a minor controversy when the band ‘Mineral’ accused him of lifting some of their music for his song ‘Hollywood Dreaming’.’ However, Lil Peep claimed it was his way of paying a tribute to the band and their music.
On August 15, 2017, Lil Peep released his debut album, ‘Come Over When You’re Sober.’ The album debuted on the ‘Billboard 200’ chart at number 168 and peaked at number 38. Lil Peep announced a promotional tour for the album, but tragedy struck in the middle of the tour and he passed away.
Following his death, several of his unreleased songs found their way to the public. Some of his posthumous hits were ‘Awful Things,’ ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Dreams & Nightmares,’ ‘4 Gold Chains,’ and ‘Falling Down.’ ‘Columbia Records’ acquired his songs after his demise.
Personal Life & Death
Lil Peep had said several times that he had had a tough childhood and that he had always been a loner. He was depressed most of the time and got “CryBaby” tattooed on his face. Even after he grew up and became famous, he could not overcome his depression and often expressed it through his lyrics.
On November 15, 2017, his manager found him dead in the tour bus. He was supposed to perform at a venue in Tucson, Arizona. He had consumed cannabis, cocaine, and several other drugs.
He had gone to take a nap in the bus at around 5 in the evening. His manager checked on him twice, and he was breathing fine. However, during the third attempt to wake him up, the manager found Lil Peep had stopped breathing. A thorough examination proved that the death was due to a drug overdose.
He had been dating ‘Instagram’ star Arzaylea Rodriguez at the time of his death.