Rap loses its rockstar

November 21, 2017

On the night of Nov. 15, Gustav Åhr, known by his stage name Lil Peep, was found dead inside his tour bus outside of a venue in Tucson, Arizona. He was set to perform in the second to last stop on his Come Over When You’re Sober tour, a 68-day tour spanning Europe and North America. First responders reported he appeared to have been killed by a Xanax overdose, but online forums quickly ignited with the rumour that Peep had been sold drugs laced with fentanyl, a powerful–and often deadly–opioid. Anyone familiar with Peep’s music was aware of his struggles with drug dependency, but the too-early death of the 21-year-old rapper was nonetheless disturbing and shocking for his fans across the world.

In the few years since Peep rose to prominence, he cultivated a deeply loyal, passionate fan base, and left a lasting impression on rap music. Largely credited by critics and fans alike as the pioneer of emo-influenced rap, Lil Peep was able to achieve a seemingly contradictory blend of modern trap machismo and early-90s alt-rock sappiness in hits like “Star Shopping” and “Crybaby.” Peep’s signature sound—angsty guitar strumming, rumbling 808 bass, trap-style drums, and remarkably catchy hooks—has been emulated by a long list of mainstream artists, including…

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