Lil Peep died from an overdose on his tourbus last night. I found out while I was scrolling through Twitter and started seeing tweets about Lil Peep's passing. I immediately texted my friend Mateus who had introduced me to Lil Peep's music this past summer and we were both just so sickened by the whole situation. Lil Peep was an awesome artist who was breaking awesome new ground in the music industry, making interesting and emotional tracks that were gaining huge audiences online. We all knew Lil Peep was heavy into drug use and fought some intense mental demons, but since drug use is so common and glamorized in rap culture we figured he would be fine.
He was with friends on the tour bus while he OD'd and they all assumed he had fallen asleep. He posted an Instagram video telling the audience to his upcoming show that it was going to be so lit because he had just popped six Xans.
What saddened me the most was a caption from Lil Peep's Instagram just hours before his passing. In the caption, he rambled about how he used drugs to make him feel happy, and that maybe if he didn't die young he would one day learn how to be happy without them. He said that he wanted to be "everybody's everything" without expecting anything in return. He knew he needed help, but didn't want to let anyone help him. My heart aches that he went out this way—desperately chasing after happiness, unable to reach out for help.
Imagine you're a 21-year-old depressed kid putting your heart and soul into your music, and then you start getting all of the success and recognition you'd always hoped for but the pain inside of you doesn't go away. The fight towards happiness just feels like a crushing defeat. Then, you have access to all kinds of destructive coping mechanisms; using drugs makes the pain go away and gives you clout in your community, how could you say no?
Lil Peep's death is so frightening because his music helped so many people who were feeling the same way as him feel like they're not alone, but we weren't able to give that feeling back to him. His drug abuse was brushed off as just a part of his rap star lifestyle and his downward spiral into a deep addiction went untreated. I hope that we can all take this terribly sad moment and use it to reflect on how our culture continues to reinforce stigmas on mental illness and ignore major red flags in artists we love.
Genius put together an eerie compilation of some great moments from Lil Peep's music career: