Lil Peep, a rising rapper whose music blended hip-hop and emo sounds, died Wednesday at 21, according to multiple reports.
The Associated Press reported that police in Tucson confirmed the death of the musician, who was found on his tour bus ahead of a scheduled concert with evidence pointing to an overdose of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. An official cause of death has not been released.
“I am shocked and heartbroken. I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic,” Sarah Stennett, chief executive of First Access, a management agency that worked with the rapper last year, said in a statement. “He had big goals and dreams for the future which he had shared with me, his team, his family and his friends. He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing.”
The Long Island native (real name: Gustav Åhr) released his debut album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1,” in September, more than a year after he had begun sharing his genre-bending songs on SoundCloud and YouTube. He gained a following offline too, particularly in Russia, where — as he told the Times of London last year — he “couldn’t walk down the street without being mobbed.”
Even as some music blogs struggled to nail down Peep’s sound (“Is Little Peep a Good Rapper or a Bad Rapper?” the Ringer asked earlier this year), he attracted accolades from high places. Pitchfork dubbed him “the future of emo,” shortly after including his somber alternative rock effort “Kiss” on its list of 2016’s best songs.
“Peep sounds like a zombie version of the late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley as he explores newfound vulnerabilities … takes solace in his outsider status … and offers some semi-sweet nothings,” Ryan Dombal wrote. “A woozy mix of trap hits, tinny guitar strums, and sleigh bells(!) set an ominous tone, but just then, as the song seems destined to fade out, Peep’s voice rings out from the bleakness, begging for one more chance.”
For his part, Peep told XXL that he considered himself a mix of Fall Out Boy and rapper iLoveMakonnen.
“I grew up listening to a lot of emo music, a lot of rock music, a lot of rap music, a lot of trap music, funk, everything,” he told the magazine.
Tributes to Lil Peep have poured in from fans, fellow musicians and friends, including Makonnen, who wrote, “I’ll always love u, we became best friends and made some of the best music I have ever been apart of.”
Lil Peep often talked openly about his struggle with depression, a theme that surfaced in many of his songs, along with drug use and suicide.
“Some days I wake up and I’m like, f‑‑‑, I wish I didn’t wake up,” he told Pitchfork.
“Some days I’ll be very down and out, but you won’t be able to tell, really, because I don’t express that side of myself on social media,” he added. “That’s the side of myself that I express through music. That’s my channel for letting all that s‑‑‑ out.”