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


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 since last year, confirmed the 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.”

A spokesman for the Tucson Police Department said Lil Peep was pronounced dead on his tour bus at approximately 9 p.m. He had been scheduled to perform at a club called the Rock. Detectives found evidence suggesting that the rapper died of an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.

Lil Peep was born Gustav Ahr on Nov. 1, 1996, and was raised in 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 mix-tapes in 2015, and last year he released two, “Crybaby” and “Hellboy,” which marked him as a potent, forward-looking synthesizer of styles with an uncanny knack for pop song-craft.

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’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

“It’s like professional wrestling — everyone has to be a character,” he told the music website Pitchfork.

But he also struggled with drugs, suicidal impulses dating to his teenage years, he told The Times. The frankness with which he spoke about the difficult parts of his life led to an especially intense connection with his fans.

“They tell me that it saved their lives,” he said, describing what his fans told him about his music. “They say that I stopped them from committing suicide, which is a beautiful thing.”

“It’s great for me to hear,” he continued. “It helps. It boosts me, because music saved my life as well.”