The death of sad rap: Lil Peep

Emily Selgelid, Reporter

First seen on Soundcloud in the mid 2010s, Sad Rap – also called Emo Rap – began with artists like Lil Tracy, Yung Lean, and Lil Uzi Vert. As a genre, it has a lot of influence from their 2000s counterparts, Pop Punk and Emo. Paired with spacy instrumentals and themes of struggling with mental health, it becomes a genre that a large number of teenagers and young adults relate to.

Beginning his career in 2014, Gustav Åhr, formally known as Lil Peep, became one of the most influential artists within the genre. He mixed fast paced trap beats and guitar riffs with heavy vocals into his signature sound. He is credited with adding a gothic tone to his music, inspiring a revival to gothic fashion in the mainstream, this time with a trendier twist.

Åhr gained popularity on Soundcloud after releasing numerous mixtapes and collaborating with Lil Tracy. His debut album, Come Over When You’re Sober, pt. 1, was released on Aug. 15, 2017. The following week the album was No. 168 on Billboard 200, and later peaked at No. 38.

Drugs and mental health issues were a staple in his music, but were taking a toll on him. On Nov. 18, 2017, Åhr had an accidental Fentanyl overdose. He was found dead in his tour bus by his manager, who was checking up on him. This was just a few hours before his show that night in Tucson, Arizona. A toxology report showed that he had multiple other drugs in his system, which could have affected how the fentanyl reacted in his body.

Just over a year ago on Sept. 19, 2018, “Falling Down” was released by Åhr’s mother along with Cleopatra Bernard, the mother of the late rapper XXXTENTACION, who was shot and killed June 8th of that year. The song was composed of their unused verses. The song peaked at No. 13 on Billboard. Come Over When You’re Sober, pt. 2, was released not long after, climbing up to No. 4 on Billboard 100.

Almost two years after his death, Lil Peep’s influence still stands. His fans still revere him as a cult icon within the genre and continue to love his music. Despite this, his death, along with XXXTENTACION’s, has caused sad rap to begin to fade as a genre. The music industry must move on.