Lil Peep, Rapper Who Blended Hip-Hop and Emo, Is Dead at 21


Lil Peep performing in the Marlin Room at Webster Hall in New York, in April. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times

Lil Peep, who over the last two years emerged as one of pop music’s brightest and most promising young talents, blending the urgency and dexterity of contemporary hip-hop with the raw, serrated sentimentality of emo, died on Wednesday night in Tucson. He was 21.

Sarah Stennett, the chief executive of First Access Entertainment, a company that worked with Lil Peep last year, confirmed the rapper’s death in a statement. Ms. Stennett said she had “spoken to his mother and she asked me to convey that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life.”

Lil Peep was born Gustav Ahr on November 1, 1996, and was raised in the town of Long Beach, on Long Island, the son of a college professor father and an elementary schoolteacher mother. (He took his name from a childhood nickname given by his mother.)

After leaving high school early — he eventually got a diploma — he moved to Los Angeles to begin pursuing music in earnest, posting first on YouTube and eventually on the streaming platform SoundCloud, finding a rabid following. He put out his first mixtapes in 2015, and last year, he released two, “Crybaby” and “Hellboy,” that marked him as a potent, forward-looking synthesizer of styles with an uncanny knack for pop songcraft.

Hear Lil Peep on Soundcloud

Many of those songs were recorded in his bedroom when he was living on Los Angeles’s Skid Row. The months of making that music were, he said in an interview with The New York Times in April, an “absolute blur,” a stretch when he took to the microphone “when I was high enough to hear something and get inspired.” When he toured earlier this year, he recreated that bedroom on stage, using the actual mattress.


Lil Peep photographed in SoHo in April. He moonlighted as an occasional runway model. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times

Lil Peep’s music — simultaneously cocky and desperate, filled with woozy singing and nimble rapping — made him one of the most promising artists in the current generation emerging from SoundCloud. In August, he released a new album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1.”

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